I once wrote a rather historical-informative article for a company blog. Now, it required information from either books, or people who had been in the organization for long. You know, to provide me with the milestones and important dates for the organization. I dug in the archives and got little such information-so I had to resort to the latter-people.
As always, they were very helpful. That organization is one where teamwork and ‘community’ is embedded. I got information, and where they could not help, they would refer me to someone who was likely to have the information. Most pointed to someone who has been around for some time. Their father figure.
So I talked to him. And got shocked.
“Why should I help you do something for your own benefit? When you write that story there will be nothing for me, all the accolades will go to you. So, I am sorry I can’t help. I don’t work that way”
To say I felt dejected is an understatement. Why did he have to behave that way? What’s in such information, anyway? It is common knowledge, and you have nothing to lose, so why, hold such information? It’s for the benefit of the organization. So, why hold it?
It reminds me of the 2009 Kenya National Census which I took part in. Two homes bluntly refused to be enumerated. Why? Because I was being paid to talk to them and they were not being given anything? So? One old lady even asked for a bribe.
Why do you refuse to assist when you can? This is one very bad trait. There are people who outwardly appear friendly, decent colleagues but inwardly are withholding information, playing dumb, and looking to gain any minimal advantage. For example – A software which is relatively straightforward to use, but might be a little clunky to use – Colleagues will give you no hints, tips pointers, overview. They won’t give you the real knowledge to get the job done well – whereas its bare minimal information, with nothing to lose!
Assisting others helps develop a reputation as a team player. This altruism also can enhance individual feelings of worthiness, competency, and belonging.
When that student comes to interview you to complete their college research work, why not help them? Or the intern/new employee looking for their way around, why withhold the information they need?
And there is the stranger who asks you for direction.
These are some of the basic qualities of being a human being. You never know where you will meet them tomorrow.