OK, so I’m a guy. And there is, unfortunately, a stigma about guys.
Well, there’s probably a lot of stigmas about guys, but there’s one that I’m going to bring up because it applies to today’s topic.
We don’t like to ask for help.
Lost out on the road (let’s assume before smart phones came to the rescue)? Not asking for directions. We’ll figure it out.
New toy to assemble for kid’s Christmas with 1000 pieces? No instructions needed. We got this.
Trying to move several hundred pound sandstone slabs across a yard. Ask for help. Nope. OK, maybe. Don’t ask me how I know this.
Bottom line is that asking for help just isn’t natural for some reason.
There are good reasons, like we just don’t want to put someone out or be a burden to them. But then there are other reasons like that we’re just proud or stubborn or trying to prove something.
In the workplace, this can lead to a lot of issues. I’m sure you’ve seen this play out.
If someone doesn’t want help moving something heavy or whatever, they might try to do it themselves or even circumvent the safety protocols put in place. And then they get hurt or someone else does.
Another example, and I think this is the big one, is asking for help when trying to learn something, accomplish a task or trouble-shoot an issue.
Honestly, I struggle in these areas. My default is to just put my head down and figure it out.
But the problem is when we all do that in an organization, for one we waste a lot of time. We waste time trying to dig up information that another colleague could have just told us if we had asked them.
Or we waste time and money going down a path that someone else could have told us might not be the right way to go from their own experience.
There are so many ways this can play out. All of them lead to bad things for the company and keep our organizations from functioning as efficiently and safely as possible. Not to mention that not asking for help just contributes further to isolating people and keeping us from growing closer and building tighter relationships.
So, what can you do about any of this?
Well, similar to some of the other topics we’ve discussed, it can start with the culture of the company.
Think about how you can normalize and model asking for help as being the way you do things. Make it almost awkward for someone who hasn’t reached out to others. You can almost achieve a sort of positive peer pressure when it comes to asking for help. That’s just the way we do it here.
Another thing to consider is working to make your culture one where people are both willing to help and freed up to help. Sometimes people want to help but feel like they don’t have the flexibility or time to do it. You can dig into that and see where you can change things to make it OK to help and empower your people to be able to do that as needed, recognizing the overall value that that brings to the company.
I’d love to know your thoughts on this. How hard do you personally find it to ask for help? What has it been like when you’ve been able to ask for help and received needed help from someone eager to help you out? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
If you’ve been enjoying the podcast and haven’t left an Apple Podcasts or iTunes review, I’d love it you’d take a minute to do that. You can head to shawnwashburn.com/apple to take you right there. Thanks for spending some time today to help you and your business thrive.