Episode 10: Giver Vs. Taker Mindset in Service


Thank you for joining the season ender episode of your Reboot Program. This is episode 10 in our series of 20 episodes to help frontliners prepare for the day we open our doors to customers again. Gabe Baradi will talk about why the Giver Mindset is what every business in service needs to survive and recover from this crisis.


Covid-19 has caused many challenges to people everywhere. Most countries imposed a quarantine and curfew to keep everyone at home. We temporarily closed most businesses to keep people safe. This has limited our mobility, our interactions, as well as our access to the products and services we used to get so easily.

Despite these challenges, this situation allowed the world to see the value of frontliners everywhere. We are very thankful for the healthcare frontliners who are leading the fight against the virus. Without them, the sick would not be cured and cared for. Our hearts go out to all the brave healthcare frontliners / who risk their lives every day, so the rest of us may stay healthy and safe.

This pandemic showed the world too that along with healthcare frontliners, service frontliners like you are our heroes in this crisis. The world is thanking all frontliners working in retail stores, restaurants, banks, courier services, and all those who continue to deliver supplies so we can survive this quarantined life. This is an important moment in history that will change the service industry forever. SatisFIND was founded in 2005 by Michelle Perez Patel /so real customers can have a voice / and share honest feedback that empowers businesses and service frontliners/ to understand how to serve their customers better. 15 years later we are still committed to the same mission. We want every frontliner to feel proud and have dignity in their work, and this is one thing that the world has come to see because of the pandemic. 

If you operate a business in the service industry, if you are a consultant helping service businesses, or if you are a frontliner yourself, YOU matter. This Reboot learning series is our small way to thank you and support you in preparing for our new Day One. 

This episode focuses on what it means to have a Giver Mindset. The past weeks have shown us the innate capacity of people to give – not only with resources / but with their time. 

This is why in the middle of all this uncertainty, we know that we can get through this and survive / because people are innately good. When we reopen our stores, we can help our own teams succeed together / if we adopt the giver mindset.

What is the Giver Mindset? This is similar to the growth mindset that we discussed in the previous episodes. Like the growth mindset, the giver mindset asks us to be open to other people, to have empathy, to be grateful, and to look at serving others not as a burden or obligation, but as an opportunity to add value to someone else’s life. To have the giver mindset means helping others without expecting anything in return. We focus on other people’s needs before our own / because by doing so, what we did for others will come back to us in many other ways / and we begin a cycle of giving and service. Since we are already in the service industry, we will always be surrounded by opportunities to practice the giver mindset. At first, it may feel like a decision we have to make, but as we practice it more, it becomes a habit and ultimately / a mindset. 

The opposite of the Giver Mindset is the Taker Mindset. The taker mindset is focused on one’s self and what there is to gain from others / without the intention to make it a mutually beneficial relationship. Without offering anything, takers are people who look at others and think, “What can I gain from this person? What advantage or value can this person give to me? How can I use this person for my own goals?”. Takers only focus on their own tasks at work, and often say “that’s not part of my job, it’s not in my job description” when they are asked to help out. Takers will be nice to people who are higher in status than them but treat people lower in rank differently. They want to gain the maximum benefit by contributing the least amount they can. Takers take all the credit for a job well done, even if the whole team worked on it. When they fail at something, they easily pass the blame to others, or make excuses. There is no accountability nor sense of responsibility when things go wrong. Takers think that by getting all they can from others, this is the best and quickest way to their success. They are not team players because they see their teammates as competitors. 

Some people may think that takers succeed more often than givers. If takers are getting everything they can from others, does this mean that takers experience more success, fulfilment, and happiness? 

Numerous studies show that to be truly successful, we need to have a giver mindset. Givers succeed because their colleagues trust them, and customers prefer to buy from them. When they succeed, everyone is happy for their success. Givers earn the respect and support of people because of the positive relationships they have created and invested in. Takers have a very short term mindset, not thinking about the long-term effects of the relationships they may sacrifice in order to get ahead. They only think of what they can gain immediately, while givers actually gain more in the long run because of the network of people who want to help them in return. What this pandemic allowed us to experience is, happiness goes beyond material wealth, we feel whole as human beings when we are connected to other people in meaningful ways. We grow mentally, emotionally and psychologically when we are in a healthy relationship both at home and at work. 

When a workplace has a culture of the giver mindset, employees work better together and solve problems faster. There will be higher productivity, efficiency, and customer satisfaction. This leads to higher profitability, lower operating costs, lower employee attrition, and higher customer loyalty. Customers notice when employees work with the giver mindset and prefer to do repeat business with them and the store.

Here’s how you can practice the giver mindset at work:

Listen well. Listening is a skill that comes up often in our other episodes. It seems obvious, but listening is the basis of our good relationships at work and at home. Listening attentively the first time a colleague shares something with you, or when a customer tells you what they need, helps you get the information right quickly. If people have to repeat what they told you over and over again, they will get frustrated. When you listen well, people learn to trust you and see you as reliable.

Be proactive in serving. 

As a service industry professional, you are in the business of helping people. You become a better professional by having the initiative to look for ways to help your colleagues and serve your customer. 

When you see trash on the floor inside your store, will you immediately pick it up before a customer sees it and throw it in the proper waste bin / or will you call the cleaning staff to clear it for you? It’s easy to think “it’s not my job to do this”, but the post-lockdown world will ask all of us to go beyond our usual roles in order to keep everyone feeling safe in the workplace. 

Another example is when you see a team member struggle with a task, are you going to offer to help right away / or do you feel that helping that person is a burden to you and they should learn it the hard way by figuring things out on their own? When you help someone, it does not mean doing their job for them but helping them understand how to go about the task faster or resolve a barrier they are facing. If you are more experienced than your teammate, what may take you 10 minutes may take that person longer. The real question we need to consider is if helping your teammate means helping your entire team, isn’t that helping the company recover faster, which in the end helps you too? 

One more example is, when a customer enters your store, do you greet them right away and ask how you can help them or do you first think if this person will likely buy based on how they are dressed? Customer experiences are based on emotions, they know when the service given to them is sincere, and they can tell if the frontliner has a giver or a taker mindset. We are all customers too, so you know how it feels when you go to a restaurant and ask the server for recommendations on what to order, and the server immediately pushes you to order the most expensive meal on the menu / without even checking what your preferences are. You can tell immediately, right? The post lockdown world will ask for more authentic relationships because we are all coming from a long period of isolation / and we are more sensitive now / to what is a real connection versus a forced one. 

Treat every colleague with respect. The taker mindset focuses only on the self. Takers sometimes help their team members only if they feel that they will get something in return. This approach is not healthy because team members will know who is selfish and who helps others selflessly. Colleagues seek to support a giver and will not be helpful towards a taker. Givers have better professional reputations, and this opens them up to better opportunities.

Imagine if everyone in your team is a giver? This would mean that all of you would get your work done in less time, with less stress, and with better results. If you can imagine it in your head now, you can make it a reality. 

Treat every customer equally. In Episode 7, we talked about Fairness and how it is different from Equality. In treating customers, we must practice equality, we cannot favor a customer who is buying a lot while ignoring a new customer who is trying us out for the first time. We will survive this economic downturn / if we are able to bring new customers in and keep old customers loyal. Studies show that sales professionals with a giver mindset experience 50% more success than those without. The secret to the giver mindset in sales is that givers develop good long-term relationships with their customers. 

Another example is when a customer enters a store, the taker mindset usually waits for the customer to approach and ask them before they even help out. Sometimes, takers will even judge a customer’s appearance: if they look like they have money, they will buy, and only then will the takers spend time to serve the customer. But customers don’t always buy on their first visit, and their appearance is not a factor in their buying decision. A giver thinks of every customer interaction as an opportunity to share the experience of the brand by selling the product or service of their store. A giver treats all customers equally, regardless of how they look or speak. A giver thinks of the long term, that even if the customer does not buy today, they may return to buy in the future, and they may even tell their friends, which means we did not only build loyalty but also advocacy.

Seek to improve yourself. The person with a giver mindset acknowledges their own strengths and challenges. Givers strive to improve how they perform their work, because they know that this leads to better results for themselves and their company. Givers are learners and will take time to help themselves improve / so that they can help others be better too. Givers use feedback on their performance as opportunities to learn and do better. 

If you are watching this episode, congratulations! You have reached the end of Season 1. We will begin Season 2 soon where we will use what we have learned in the context of self-leadership. This Reboot program hopes to not only make you a better team member but to prepare you for leadership. See you in our next episode. 


We would like to end this episode with a few questions to help you practice what Gabe shared with us: 

How would you describe the mindset that you have at work? Are you a giver, a taker or a mix of both depending on the person and the situation? If you find it challenging to practice the giver mindset fully at work, know that you already have this mindset in your personal relationships with people you love. Though the level of care and concern we may have differ from person to person what we need to understand is that we are capable of showing this mindset at work if we make the decision to do so.

How will you practice the giver mindset towards your team members?

How will you practice the giver mindset towards your customers? 

This ends our Season 1 of the Reboot program. Thank you for sharing your Reboot Journal, we appreciate hearing your thoughts about the episodes. Please keep them coming.

If you missed any of the 10 episodes, now is the best time to catch up. We will see you for Season 2, our series on Leadership and Selling. Thank you for joining.