Very few people like to ask for help. It’s a personality thing. Some people are just too shy to ask. Others hesitate to ask because they feel they are bothering or inconveniencing other people. Still others feel that if they ask for help, they will appear incapable, unintelligent or unresourceful.
I have a totally different take on this issue, based on my experience. I am convinced other people feel validated and appreciated when I ask them for help. I also believe that people typically enjoy giving help, because we all naturally feel good about helping others. Another benefit is that when someone helps you, they sense that you “owe” them a favor in return. That can establish a pattern of healthy cooperation and give-and-take.
I often say to people, “Please ask me for help if you ever need anything.” Even if I don’t say that, people know they can ask me, because I have established a pattern of being helpful. And I think those efforts have helped build deeper relationships and greater organizational success.
I’m not suggesting you ask for help just for the sake of asking for help, or just to make people feel good. When you do need help, however, don’t shy away from asking. People will appreciate you more. When you ask people for assistance, you demonstrate that you respect their expertise and effort. That will help create a stronger bond between you and those around you.
An added benefit? Asking for help tells someone that you know you’re not perfect. It shows a more human side to you as a leader. It’s not a weakness, it’s a strength, because you show that you are strong enough to know you need to ask for help. Asking for help is a sign that you’re a confident person, not an arrogant one.
An Experiment for You to Try . . .
Over the next few days, consciously take time to ask people for more help. Consider their reactions. Over time, evaluate how your relationships with those people have improved.
Today’s post is adapted from my new book, Ingaging Leadership. I invite you to visit its listing on Amazon.com and add a copy to your library of books on leadership and executive success.