Interpersonal Competence and True Generosity

I saw a quote from Samuel Johnson on the internet the other day, “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good.”  Yesterday I saw a Twitter post by Brian Carter that said, “In social networking, generosity is a strategy that produces positive ROI.”  I responded to Brian by saying, “Generosity pays off in life.  It is not just a good social networking strategy.”  By the way, if you want, you can follow me on Twitter.  Just go to

I saved these items as I thought they would be a great lead in to today’s post on interpersonal competence – one of the five keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become interpersonally competent, you need to do three things: 1) Get to know yourself.  Use this self knowledge to better understand others; 2) Build strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the people in your life; and 3) Learn how to resolve conflict with minimal disruptions to relationships.

Generosity – to everyone, not just those who can do you some good – is the key to building strong relationships.  William Arruda, my friend and author of Career Distinction, often refers to “career karma.”  He says that when you put good things out into the universe, they will come back to you in unexpected ways. 

I agree.  That’s why I always encourage my coaching clients to “give with no expectation of return.”  When you do so, you are creating positive karma and you are being truly generous.  Quid pro quo — giving in exchange for getting, is better than not giving at all, but it is not the essence of true generosity.

Truly generous people willingly share their time, knowledge and experience with others.  They do so with no strings attached.  I write this blog in the hopes that people will benefit from the wisdom I’ve gained in over 35 years in business and 58 years of living.  I do so in the hope that the people who read it – you – will be able to learn something from my experience and not have to pay the price I’ve paid for gaining that experience firsthand.

Who knows?  Some of you may be able to do me some good some day.  Most of you probably won’t, but that’s OK.  The important thing for me is to share my thoughts in the hope that they will be helpful to others.

That’s what interpersonally competent people do.  They build relationships with the people in their lives.  These relationships are based on generosity, the willingness to give with no expectation of return.

When you build relationships built on generosity you help yourself as well as other people.  Generosity is its own reward.  It helps you feel better about yourself and it helps build your self confidence, another key to success that I discuss in Straight Talk.  And curiously, it has a way of coming back to you in unexpected ways and places.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are interpersonally competent.  They know themselves, build strong relationships with the people in their life, and they resolve conflict positively.  True generosity, giving with no expectation of return, is a key to building strong relationships.  When you are generous, you build your emotional bank account — with the people to whom you give willingly, and with humanity.  A strong emotional bank account will see you through tough times and help you prosper in good times.  Go ahead, try it.  Give willingly of yourself with no expectation of return.  See how much comes back to you in unexpected ways.

That’s my take on generosity of spirit.  What’s yours?  Please be generous and leave a comment sharing your thoughts and experience with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.