Striking a balance between ‘givers,’ ‘takers’ and ‘matchers’ in a radiology team

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Individuals in any given radiology team can be considered “givers,” “takers” and “matchers.” According to a recent study published by the Journal of the American College of Radiology, striking the right balance between those qualities can help leaders get improve both productivity and morale.

The authors define givers as “those persons who give without expectations” and takers as “those who position themselves to only be at the receiving end of help." Matchers, meanwhile, are those who “lean toward fostering a tit-for-tat environment.”

“An effective radiology leader must be aware of the heterogeneity of teams and the tendency of individuals to lean more toward one or another of these traits,” wrote lead author Nupur Verma, MD, University of Florida in Gainesville, and colleagues. “This allows the leader to position and reward the members individually to maximize productivity and decrease interpersonal conflicts. Understanding this is also important in radiology groups in which there are complex teamwork interactions and the team members are highly trained, high-value employees.”

One might assume that a radiology team full of givers would be ideal, but Verma et al. note that is actually far from the case. Givers are kind, yes, but there are some negative side effects of being a giver in today’s work environments.

“The giver may be the person in the group with the fewest relative value units who selflessly takes on less desirable tasks such as interpreting outside imaging or lower productivity modalities,” the authors wrote. “Givers are also most likely to be taken advantage of and viewed as weak and submissive if they are amicable givers.” Givers are also likely to experience burnout, so they often require additional mentoring from a leader to make sure they stay positive and don’t stress themselves out.

Of course, they explained, givers are also often “some of the highest achieving individuals within an organization.” It’s up to the leader to see both sides of each individual and build their team accordingly.

The authors also wrote that motivation plays a crucial rule when putting together a proper radiology team. By motivating each individually based on if they are a giver or a taker, the leader is getting the most out of everyone and giving each team member a sense of purpose. Givers should be encouraged to modify their jobs as they see fit; they want to do more, so let them. Takers, meanwhile, can be motivated by “reappropriating bonuses on the basis of tasks completed, with public recognition for completing giving actions.”