Business owners are quick to complain about the lack of cooperation between their employees – but the problem is based less on the number of people willing to give assistance, and more on the number of people unwilling to ask for it.
For many people, asking for help feels like admitting weakness. Employees want to avoid the appearance of disinterest or stupidity. They also want to avoid feeling like they owe someone a favor.
But avoiding the problem isn’t the solution. Instead, you need to get better at asking for help from the people around you. Here are some great ways to get started:
Understand the Benefits of Getting Help
When you don’t ask for help, a few things happen. First, you move forward without the information you need to succeed. Second, you alienate yourself from your manager and coworkers. And third, you set yourself up for failure.
This doesn’t happen all at once. Rather, it takes place over time, as you refuse more and more often to turn to someone else for assistance.
But the decision to ask for help is worth the risk. When you admit you need assistance, you appear stronger, highlight your humanity, and connect with your peers on a deeper level. You also avoid further mistakes in the workplace, which can lead to a happier and longer-lasting experience.
Start by Helping Others
The easiest way to encourage a comfortable environment in which people can ask for help is by providing assistance yourself.
Never look down on someone for asking the same question more than once. Fulfill every request you can. And don’t be afraid to send the request to someone more experienced if you don’t know the answer.
All of these actions can clear the pathway for you to ask for help in the future.
Make SMART Requests
Sometimes, when employees ask for help, they word their initial request poorly. Your conversation should be SMART, an acronym that stands for:
- Specific. Make sure your coworker or manager knows exactly what you’re talking about, rather than inviting more questions by being vague.
- Meaningful. Explain why you need assistance by outlining your problems and concerns. This will allow your helper to describe what, exactly, you should do in the future.
- Action-Oriented. Tell your coworker or manager what needs to be done.
- Real. In other words, be authentic with your request. Don’t make something up or lie about the circumstances under which you need assistance.
- Time-Bound. Set a realistic deadline for your helper.
Don’t Make Assumptions
You should never assume that you know what or who other people know. In truth, you never know what other people know until you ask. Besides, even someone who doesn’t have the expertise or information you need can often direct you to someone who does.
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