In our fast-paced world, one of the biggest challenges we all face is knowing when to ask for help.
In the business world, I’ve always said this:
It’s not a crime to have a problem, but it is a crime to have a problem and not raise your hand!
I’ve been in companies with thousands of team members, and everyone works hard daily. Sometimes, it isn’t humanly possible for you to get the job done by yourself in the timeframe you’re dealing with. You need help. At the very moment you know you’re in over your head and need help, simply raise your hand!
This topic is also what I call a spark that has the ability to turn into a blazing fire. The spark can’t grow into a raging fire if you put out the spark. Recently when I was coaching a group of leaders at a company on this very topic, I asked this question;
“How many of you feel like all you do all day long is put out fires?”
The answer has been almost unanimous with everyone admitting they feel like that’s all they do.
Believe it or not, many of us don’t know how to ask for help. We’re afraid you might think we’re not able to do our job or that we just have too much pride to ask for help. In the business context, I’ve always tried to coach everyone to understand we’re all in this together and we are here to help each other. Asking for help is not a weakness.
Here is some great advice from Dr. Heidi Grant and how to ask for help – it will be worth spending 10 minutes learning how to ask for help.
How to ask for help — and get a “yes” | Heidi Grant
Summary from Heidi’s talk:
- Don’t say awkward things like: “I’m so sorry,” “I feel bad for asking you,” etc. Skip small talk too. Go directly to the point and be specific about the help.
- Don’t offer payment, especially to your friends and relatives. It makes it more like a business deal and also awkward. Giving gifts afterward is better but not crucial.
- Ask in person, or at least face time or phone call – not a text. You’re more likely to get a positive response.
- Provide feedback. Tell them how they helped you and make both of you feel good.
As always, my leadership lessons will work at home if you apply them properly. In the context of this lesson, if you have small children, you may have to ask them, “Are you ok?” or “Do you need anything?”
This is a way of letting them know the door is always open to ask for help or raise their hand! Teach them it’s ok to ask for help as well!
I’ll end with this advice;
When someone raises their hand and asks for help, get it for them, and do NOT make them feel bad for raising their hand and asking for help. If you do, they just won’t raise their hand the next time, and the spark will become a fire – you’ll need way more resources to put that fire out!