When it comes to work, what are some of your top skills? Are you a team player? Are you exceptionally organized? Are you a great facilitator? Do you quickly adapt to change?
These are all excellent skills. In fact, they are skills that most employers would love to have in all of their team members. But I want to share with you a skill that might rank above all of these put together.
Do you know what it is?
It’s a superpower…it truly is.
It’s the ability to ask for help.
“Wait, Brenda…if I ask for help, won’t they think I’m not up to the challenge or stupid or the wrong person for the job?”
If they do – that’s on them!
Because asking for help does not make you stupid, incapable, or unqualified.
If you ask me, I think it’s just the opposite.
Asking for Help is not a Weakness
When I first started my career, I thought that asking for help would be seen as a sign of weakness. As an indication that I wasn’t ready for the role I was in. That I couldn’t cut it.
But I quickly learned that asking for help was advantageous to me…especially when done correctly.
Now, you may be asking yourself, “What does it mean to ask for help ‘correctly’?”
Let me share a few of my favorite tips for asking for help!
Exhaust All of Your Possibilities
Raise your hand if you have kids or a spouse who spends 15 seconds looking for something, and then you hear, “Mom/Honey…do you know where my XXXXXX is?”
Yup, we all do.
And we all know that they have not put in nearly enough time looking for the missing item. In fact, you might even yell back, “Keep looking!”
When it comes to asking for help, it’s essential that you try all of the possibilities you can think of to solve whatever issue you are facing. Brainstorm solutions, try the solutions and brainstorm again if possible. And when you think you’ve done all you can, then ask for help. Because whoever you’re going to ask for help wants to know that you’ve put 110% into trying to find an answer before coming to them.
Seek Out the Right Person at the Right Time
Once you’ve exhausted all of your possibilities and you’ve decided that you need some assistance, it’s time to think about who you can ask for help. You want it to be the right person.
Do you know an out-of-the-box thinker who has a knack for finding solutions? Do you have a mentor with lots of knowledge and a willingness to share? Did someone give you the name of a person who could help – but maybe you don’t know them personally? All of these people might be the right person, and once you’ve tried all of the solutions you can think of – it’s time to reach out to them.
But think about the second part of this tip, too – reach out to them at the right time. Catching them in the hall after lunch is probably not the right time. Tuesday afternoon at 5:20 p.m. when they’re heading home – not the right time. Be cognizant of their schedule and ask to set up a time that’s convenient for them to talk with you.
Share What You’ve Tried/Researched
When you reach out to that person for help, and you’re asking to set up a time to meet, be sure to share a little background on what you need assistance with and share what you’ve tried or researched already. This will go a long way to show your capabilities and will allow the person to see what steps you’ve already taken/tried. (This step is especially important if you’re reaching out to someone you may not have a direct connection with.)
Ask Them to Collaborate With You
One of the best ways to learn from someone is to collaborate with them. Ask if this is possible with the person you’re seeking help from. Can you brainstorm together? Can they share what worked in the past? While they may be able to reply via email with a solution, you’ll get the most out of asking for help if you can work with that person directly.
Be Open to Help
We all know that person at work who doesn’t ask for help, says they don’t need help and that we avoid like the plague. Don’t be that person. You want to be open to help – because sometimes it will just be given to you (if you’re open to it), and it can be the best thing ever!
If you don’t have this superpower already – it’s one I want you to work on developing! Because it can be so beneficial to you, your coworkers, your clients/customers, and your business.
Remember: Help is not a four-letter word to be avoided (unlike some other four-letter words). Instead, it’s a four-letter word to be embraced when needed.
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