One of life’s greatest lessons
ASK. (Always Seek Knowledge)
Why are people reluctant to ask for help?
When we need tax information, we ask an accountant. When we want to travel, we might ask a travel agent. The list goes on and on about those we don’t hesitate to ask—but when it comes to our professional questions, we aren’t as comfortable.
According to learning and development specialist Lorie Corcurera, those of us who were encouraged to be independent see asking for help as a negative. In her article, “Five reasons why you should ask for help at work” Corcurera writes:
Why people often find it difficult to ask for and receive support:
- Assumption 1: It’s a sign of weakness. If I can’t do it on my own, I must not know how to do it or I don’t have the skills or resources to do it.
- Assumption 2: Allowing someone else to help me means I lose control of the situation.
- Assumption 3: If I receive support then I have to reciprocate. What if I can’t return the favor? What if I don’t want to return the favor?
- Assumption 4: If I ask for the support of others, I am burdening them. They are just as busy as me so how could they find the time to help out?
- Assumption 5: I am the only one that can do it my way. It’s easier and quicker for me to do it than to train or teach someone else to help me.
One of our clients is the owner and leader of a successful second-generation agricultural company. He was over his head in trying to move the company forward, and instead of reaching out to others he remained “in his head”, trying to come up with the answers. Too often he procrastinated, unsure of what to do next. We encouraged him to seek out the counsel of others; he joined professional organizations for his industry, attended networking groups and began to develop relationships outside the company. And yes, he asked others to share their expertise. As a result, he was able to find a new, updated software for his company, obtain a business loan to expand, and found executives with industry experience to come on board. All that from just summoning the courage to reach out.
“In today’s organizations, you can’t be successful if you don’t ask for what you need”, advises Wayne Baker, a professor of Business Administration at the University of Michigan. In his article, “5 Ways to Get Better at Asking for Help”, he offers
5 Ways to Get Better at Asking for Help
- Earn responses to your requests by generously helping others in the first place.
- Know what you want to ask.
- Ask SMARTLY.
- Don’t assume you know who and what people know.
- Create a culture where asking for help is encouraged.
And finally, wise words from corporate coach Camille Preston, in an article for Fortune entitled, “How Asking for Help Actually Helps You” says that asking for help is what successful people do!
- Get over yourself.
- Reframe your thinking
- Know about your colleagues
- Think about your colleagues
- Build Your team
- Frame the Ask properly
- Get an assistant
- DO try this at home.