No Good Deed Goes Unpunished. True?

As an eternal optimist and believer in the underlying good nature of my fellow humans, I have always rejected the popular “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” mantra.  Have I been wrong?  Quite possibly. 

According to the Harvard Business Review Management Tip of November 2, 2010 entitled “Give With Caution” it is suggested that going above and beyond, e.g. being a selfless team member, may often be viewed negatively.  How so?  According to the experts, “Others may not trust your intentions (what is she getting out of this?) or think that you’re breaking unspoken rules (doesn’t she know she’s making us look bad?). This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give, but be clear about the personal benefits to you. Explain what you stand to gain, whether it’s payback down the road or simply the positive feeling of having helped someone. Your deed, and your explanation of it, may set a good example for others.”

In other words, be crystal clear about your motives, to ensure that your good deed is seen for what it is.  Transparency . . . a good concept to keep in mind as we head to the polls this election day.


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