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Is lending better than giving?

On this Christmas day, what better topic to discuss than giving. I’m not thinking of giving in the context of unwrapping gifts but giving to those who in need more specifically I’m thinking of charity.

Every so often we receive mail from non-profit organizations asking for our help – for donations. Don’t get me wrong, donations are a great way to help those in need. Donations support organizations fighting illnesses, protect the environment and animals, promote art and many other very noble causes but there are also new ways to help.

A while ago a friend told me about kiva (from their web site: Kiva is the world’s first person-to-person micro-lending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world). The concept behind kiva is to empower people by giving them the mean to earn a living.

Earning a living is a fundamental and universal way for people to meet their basic needs. Although this is not the only solution to solving poverty, interest-free micro loan do help people generate an income. This is a nice way to help those in need.

What does this have to do with leading teams?

I believe we could draw a few parallels. As with the people helped by kiva, team members want to be empowered and have the ability accomplish their goal. They don’t expect their leader to write them a blank cheque and ignore them. People want to be given freedom to operate in order to earn the trust of their colleagues and managers. Most of all, at the end of the day they want to go home with a sense of accomplishment.

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