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Why Strong Leaders Are Not Afraid to Ask for Help

Today I would like to post this article written by my colleague Evan Hackel, and share its wisdom with you.

By Evan Hackel

I have noticed that very few leaders like to ask for help. For some, the experience of saying the words, “I could use some help on this” feels as uncomfortable and unfamiliar as a new pair of shoes. A small number of leaders are actually too shy to ask. But the biggest issue for company leaders is that they fear that they will appear incapable, unintelligent or unresourceful. One company leader expressed it to me this way, “I’m the person who is in charge and people expect me to know all the answers. If I ask for help or even suggestions, people are going to think that I don’t know how to make good decisions.”

I have led a number of organizations and I have a totally different take on this issue. I am convinced that other people have felt validated and appreciated when I have asked them for help. I also believe that people typically enjoy giving help, because we all naturally feel good about helping others.

But there are many other benefits too, including these:

  • You discover strengths and abilities in other people that you might have missed in the past and cultivate a stronger and more balanced team.
  • You show that you do not think you are perfect, which shows that you are a confident leader, not an arrogant one.
  • You enable people to do more of what they do well, which makes them happier on the job, reduces turnover, improves productivity and pays lots of other unexpected benefits.
  • You establish a healthy atmosphere of cooperative give-and-take. When someone helps you, they sense that you “owe” them a favor and are more like to ask for one in return.
  • You free more of your time to manage top-level responsibilities like long-rang planning, defining your company’s vision and mission, cultivating new business, and just plain thinking about the biggest issues and opportunities that lie before you.

Cultivating Healthy 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 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.

Assist With Change Without Stepping on Toes with Michelle Geaghan

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