For many of us, myself included, asking for help can sometimes be challenging. Understandably, our workplaces place high value on competency, knowing what to do, when to do it, and how to do it. Those in leadership roles are often held to this expectation, and as a result, asking for help can be particularly difficult.
There are often a variety of reasons for being reluctant to seek out help, most of which are related to our sense of pride and vulnerability. As leaders we often feel as if we should know everything… that’s why we are the leader, right? We worry about losing the confidence of our followers regarding our abilities to do the job, and subsequently, the personal and professional respect of our followers.
However, asking for help can be a wise strategy. There are tangible benefits such as saving you time and energy, as opposed to muddling through on your own. More importantly, asking for help can develop your leadership. Here’s how:
Shows strength of character
Asking for help demonstrates to your followers that you are human, and that you don’t necessarily know everything. We often worry that this puts us in a position of vulnerability; however, it actually is reflective of strength of character. People recognize that it takes confidence to ask for assistance. Additionally, it highlights your awareness of your own strengths and weaknesses, which takes a great deal of self-assurance.
Gives you perspective
Two heads are better than one. Our own perspective often limits us, we just can’t seem to think of an answer or a course of action. By asking for help we create the opportunity to see the situation from a different perspective, thus opening up the possibilities for determining a solution to the issue.
Supports mutual understanding and respect
As a leader asking for help often creates opportunity for open dialogue between you and your followers. This open dialogue creates a mutual understanding and respect between each individual and the development of trusting and collaborative relationships among the team members.
Helps others to stretch
Asking for help from your followers is important in facilitating their ongoing professional growth. By asking for assistance from them you are demonstrating that you value their expertise and knowledge, and that you have something to learn from them. Your followers will recognize your confidence in them and will likely respond by willingly taking on new challenges and offering new and innovative ideas.
There is tremendous benefit for strengthening your leadership through asking for help when needed. However, be aware that these benefits will only be realized if you truly value the assistance provided to you. Ensure that you take the time to tell your followers that you deeply appreciate their help, and that your door is always open to them when, in turn, they need a helping hand.