Asking for & Accepting Help

So often I see people plowing ahead at work, struggling under their work load without any help.  When I see this I wonder why is it that they are not getting help?  Is it because they haven’t asked for help, is because resources just aren’t available or is it because they won’t accept help?  With the recent recession there are many cases where the resources just aren’t there to help, companies are doing more with less which is unfortunate and yet it is beyond our control.  However, we can control the other two reasons, not asking and not accepting help.  Looking at the reason behind the lack of help I’ve found that people are held back by fear.

  • It may be that they are afraid of being deemed a weak link. 
  • Fear that others will think they are stupid or unskilled. 
  • They are afraid to admit they don’t have the skills needed. 
  • At times it’s because they are afraid the help won’t be done to their standards (perfectionists).
  • They may fear that they aren’t going to be needed if someone else can do the task instead of them. 

These fears must be addressed head on.  If you are struggling with one of these fears yourself, ask the following questions:

  1. Will I get the task done more quickly and efficiently if I get help?
  2. Can I learn new skills by asking/accepting help?
  3. Is admitting I need help better than the stress of being overloaded?
  4. Am I holding the team back because I’m overloaded?
  5. Can someone else get it done to the required standards in the appropriate time?

If you can answer yes to these questions then ask for or accept help.  You are a better team player when you put the job requirements ahead of your personal pride.  Asking for help allows you and others to learn new skills and will free up some of your time.  This puts you in control of your schedule instead of being a slave to the overwhelming workload on your plate.

If you are a supervisor of someone who is overwhelmed but not asking for or accepting help you can help them by finding out why they are not seeking help.  This could be an excellent coaching opportunity for them and allow you the chance to help them build new skills or get them to help someone else to grow.  You may just need to assure them that they are a valued member of the team and you don’t want them to burn out with too much work.  Tread carefully because most of us are not excited to admit we are afraid of something, even when it’s true.

Putting aside your fears and getting some much needed help will make your burden lighter and your workday a bit brighter. 

What things have you done to make sure you get the help you need or give help to others?

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