Tis Better to Give

This is the fifth installment of the story about Pat and her learning journey around influence from Coach Smith.


Pat was just as fired up to put her second team building lesson into practice as she was with the first one Coach had shared with her. Once again, she made sure to get into the office early so she could take care of a few things and feel ready to engage folks as they arrived.

To a person, everyone was still taken back a little by the difference they saw in Pat. They enjoyed the prior week and noticed Pat showed up the same way this week.

To start putting some reciprocity into practice, prior to everyone making their way into the office, Pat set up a 30-minute meeting with each person early in the week. A few took place on Monday afternoon and the rest were slated for Tuesday. Still conscious of what she first learned from Coach, Pat made it a point to engage liking to start each meeting, then looked for an opportunity to put reciprocity into practice.

She did this by asking what each person needed from her in order to do their jobs better. It seemed like such a simple question that she was surprised it had not occurred to her to ask it before. As she thought about that she realized she’d never had a boss ask her that question so it wasn’t modeled behavior.

She was happy that people shared specific things she could do to help. Recognizing her skill-set, some asked for her advice on particular projects. Others talked about challenges they were having with individuals in different departments and wanted to know how she might handle the situation. 

One team member who was under a particularly heavy workload and was having some challenges at home made a very different ask of Pat. 

Pat started the conversation, “Joe, I know you’ve been under a lot of pressure lately with your workload and the arrival of your second child. How can I help alleviate some of that pressure?”

Joe, somewhat hesitant, began, “I’m surprised you noticed. I didn’t think I was letting it show that much. Work seems busier than ever but it’s been compounded with the baby. Laura and I share duties so I’ve been up in the middle of the night quite a bit.”

“I don’t have kids but I’m sure that it’s not easy losing sleep then having to come here and focus,” Pat said empathetically. She went on, “I don’t know what I can do to help but I’m guessing you might have an idea or two.”

Straightening up and looking Pat in the eye, Joe said, “What I could use is a day off to help get some things done around the house that we’ve fallen behind on. The other thing would be flexibility to come in later in the morning if I’ve had a rough night.” Before Pat could say anything he quickly added, “I’d work through lunch or stay late to make up the time.”

Much to his delight Pat immediately replied, “Both would be fine Joe. Just let me know what day you’ll take off and shoot me a text on the days you know you’ll be late.”

Joe could barely contain his delight. This wasn’t what he expected to happen during this one on one. He thanked her several times before leaving her office. Pat was pleasantly surprised at how good she felt by helping Joe and the others. She remembered Coach telling her, “It’s better to give than receive,” and thought to herself, “As usual, Coach was right!”

Each person in the department seemed much more upbeat and engaged as the week went on. Pat also encouraged everyone to reach out to one another to see how they might be able to help each other. She shared the story about helping players on her college basketball team with their free-throw and 3-point shooting to illustrate how it helped form a more cohesive team during her senior season. She hoped that would be the case for their small learning team, that they would start helping each other more as opposed to being five individuals who primarily focused on their own work each day.

Two successful weeks with noticeable differences made Pat eager to meet with Coach Friday afternoon for another lesson.


  1. And Now for Something Completely Different
  2. Coach’s Lesson on Liking
  3. Game Time for Pat
  4. Coach’s Lesson on Reciprocity
  5. Tis Better to Give
  6. A Lesson on Peer Pressure
  7. Putting Peer Pressure to Work at Work
  8. A Trusted Expert
  9. Becoming a Respected Leader
  10. Ask, Don’t Tell if You Want Commitment
  11. Less Directive
  12. Wins and Losses
  13. Don’t be a Downer
  14. Self-sacrifice
  15. Pay it Forward

Brian Ahearn, CPCU, CTM, CPT, CMCT

Brian Ahearn is the Chief Influence Officer at Influence PEOPLE. An author, TEDx speaker, international trainer, coach, and consultant, he’s one of only a dozen people in the world personally trained by Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the most cited living social psychologist on the science of ethical influence.

Brian’s first book, Influence PEOPLE, was named one of the 100 Best Influence Books of All Time by BookAuthority. His follow-up, Persuasive Selling for Relationship Driven Insurance Agents, was an Amazon new release bestseller. His new book, The Influencer: Secrets to Success and Happiness, is a business parable.

Brian’s LinkedIn courses on persuasive selling and coaching have been viewed by more than 400,000 people around the world.


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