The art of asking for help

The art of asking for help

If there’s one thing I have mastered shamelessly, it’s asking for help. I have learned to ask questions to people I feel have the answers, whether younger, older, less senior or more senior, it really doesn’t matter. If I feel you can help me, I’ll ask.

Common reasons why we don’t ask for help:

  1. I’ll look incompetent
  2. It’s a sign of weakness
  3. My request is too big/too small

A new Linkedin research says that 84% of people have admitted to needing help in their careers but more than 35% have been too scared to ask for help and 30% would rather work an extra 6 hours instead.

The below infographic* shows the top 5 reasons why people want help:

It’s no surprise that number one on the list is stress, something we have all dealt with but struggle to manage and talk about. According to the Guardian “Stress is what happens when we are not supported to do what needs to be done. Women working in heavily male-dominated workplaces suffer greater stress than in more gender-balanced environments. Women are nearly twice as likely to experience anxiety as men, and people of both sexes under 35 are more likely to be affected than older people.”

In order to get us to a place where we can seek out help, I’ve curated 5 tips that could get you on the right path:

#1 Accept that you need help

The beginning of any sort of change is accepting that one needs to change and needs the right support. There are many occasions where I have told myself that I do not need help because I fear the thought of people assuming I am incompetent or falling under the typical female stereotypes.

#2 Recognise that it is not a weakness but a strength

This sounds cliche, however, it’s the truth. Being able to recognise where you need help and having the boldness to talk about it is a sign of strength and one that will help you in the long run.

#3 Pinpoint where you need help

Take a deep look into what is causing you problems at work or your business. Are you constantly behind on deliverables? Do you suddenly feel overwhelmed before starting work? Are you struggling to work with certain individuals? Are you unsure about certain tasks? Once you’re clear on where you need help and how you’d like the support then you can take the next step in approaching someone. I’d suggest listing all the things you need help with then also listing how you’d like that help to look. For example “I need help with understanding how to roll out this project” the support needed may be “Set aside 30 minutes to discuss project details with relevant colleagues and best tools to manage projects”.

#4 Start with a simple conversation

I normally tend to have a general chat and then somewhere within the conversation mention what I need help with something, “Oh, by the way, that project you assigned me in the morning, I’m not too sure on how to roll it out. Is it possible we could discuss it later this afternoon?”  or you could simply send an email requesting for a quick chat over some coffee. The more relaxed the setting is the more relaxed you’ll be.

#5 Join a community

There are so many support communities around these days such as For Working Ladies, you could always reach out to someone within the community and ask them for support. You’d be surprised as to how many people could lend you the help you need.

*The survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of LinkedIn between August 8 and 22, 2018 among 1,017 adults 18+ across the U.S. who are employed full-time, part-time, or self-employed.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Elizabeth is a Brands and Communications specialist with a passion to support females in reaching their full potential.

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