For some the very idea of asking for help is tantamount to admitting failure.
Hint: It’s NOT!
There is no shame in asking for help.
Whether it’s asking for directions or asking for clarification.
When you ask for help you will stand out in your career. People will know you take the time to fully understand the situation and what is expected of you. People will begin to trust this as a critical thinking skill and a trait that will likely get you noticed. And, for you … it will speed up your ability to deliver exactly what is being requested. Precisely because you took the time to ask. There will be no second guessing whether you are over- or under-delivering. You’ll KNOW! Because you asked.
When in doubt… Ask!
A few tips to consider when requesting help:
- Ask early … If you are unsure of the specific actions or deliverables … Ask Early!
- Listen. Really listen.
- Thank them for their time, guidance, and assistance.
Bonus: Offer to follow up with how their advice worked out. Some people are just happy to give advice and don’t need to know how it all turned out. Others are more interested in knowing. The way you find out is … ask.
A few concerns you may have:
Will asking for help make you look weak?
Absolutely not! Only in your mind will you get caught with that kind of logic trap. Most people (when given the chance) are very happy to help.
Caveat: There are some people that revel in your challenges and pain. Whenever possible avoid them. When you find those people in your life make a note of it and in the future don’t ask for their advice.
When asking for help will it make you look bad? It might, if …
- A deadline has passed
- A critical milestone has been missed
- Someone has already offered you help and you didn’t accept it
The simple way to avoid looking bad in situations like this is to ask for help early. As noted above if you don’t know something or have a concern about what the specific deliverables or actions are… Ask!
Very few people will begrudge you for asking for guidance upfront. This is especially true for managers and clients too. They want you to succeed, because it makes them look good too. In fact, it doesn’t take too much of a leap of faith to understand that is why they hired you either as an employee or as a consultant or as a contractor.
When in doubt… Ask!
A few tips to consider when receiving help:
- Be gracious
- Pay it Back or Pay it Forward
- Thank everyone that helps you. It doesn’t need to be public or large, but a handwritten thank you note goes a long way. Read The Power of the Pen for a few suggesting on more that can be done with words.
Remember. When in doubt… Ask!