Russell Johnson of Michigan State University and his co-researchers asked managers to track the help they gave colleagues over 10 days and how recipients responded. The team found that when people lent a hand without being asked, they were less likely to be shown gratitude than when they helped upon request. Study participants also felt less sociable and engaged at work a day after they'd given proactive assistance. The conclusion: You shouldn't volunteer to help your co-workers.

Q: Professor Johnson, defend your research.

A: Our findings do suggest that we all need to be cautious about offering unsolicited help. We're

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