It’s natural to avoid asking for help.
You worry that it makes you appear weak. That it makes you appear ignorant or uninformed. Like you can’t do your job, or are just plain unable to get the job done. Asking for help doesn’t have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can lead to innovative ideas, new collaborations and more. But do you know when it’s time to ask for help?
It’s time to ask for help when:
- You need to think outside the box. You may be a highly creative person, but after a while it’s easy to get in a rut.
- By not asking for help, you put your company in a bad position. You should never let fear or pride get in the way of doing what is right for your company. If you need help from someone within your department or a different department, just go for it. You know your colleagues. And perhaps one choice is better than another. But don’t forgo help and jeopardize the business (and perhaps your job).
- You need clarification. Sometimes, you may just need something cleared up. A quick question or two may do the trick. If you refuse to ask others for a little clarification, you will be making decisions based on erroneous assumptions. And that makes for bad business.
- You don’t understand what is being asked of you. This can come from inside the company or outside. And this goes hand-in-hand with clarification. If you don’t understand what is being asked, then you obviously won’t understand what your next step to take is.
- You don’t know how to do what is being asked of you. This seems fairly obvious. But it’s easy for someone to get embarrassed or think he / she will come across as looking inept when admitting help is needed. But it’s best to ask and then learn how to do it, rather than attempt to do things when you don’t know how.
- You are totally overextended and crunched by time. Sometimes it feels as if everything falls in your lap at one time. You are only one person. It’s okay to reach out and ask for some help to get things done, especially when deadlines are looming.
So you know you need to ask for help. But how? Here are a few tips on getting professional assistance.
- Ask from a point of strength, not fear. Don’t play dumb and don’t go in asking with your proverbial tail between your legs. Two heads are better than one, right? And the other employees in your company are part of the same team – yours. So ask for help from one team member to another.
- Asking for help, means asking for help – not having another person shoulder the load. If you are late on a deadline and need help closing a deal, then ask for that help. But you should never offload the bulk of your responsibilities onto another.
- Show your appreciation. When you ask for help, make it clear that you are very appreciative if your colleague can provide assistance. After, express your gratitude. Write a personal note. Get your teammate a cup of coffee or offer to treat for lunch. A little appreciation goes a long way and will result in willing helpers later on.