managemnet company strategy managemanet How to Get Better at Asking for Help at Work

How to Get Better at Asking for Help at Work

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Most people have an endless mountain of work to get through and tend to feel great relief when their workload is somehow reduced. But many of us are not real QUESTIONS for help, which is one way we can manage our work better and be less overwhelmed. After all, we are only human. We can’t do everything on our own or be as successful as we dream of if we don’t ask for the support we need.

Often it is not a lack of knowing who can help us or when or how to ask them for help that prevents us from asking for much needed support, but our own reluctance to ask others for help. to help if we have more than we need. plate. This is especially true for those of us who are “helpers” — willing to lend a hand to a colleague at a moment’s notice, but rarely, if ever, ask for help ourselves.

Why People Avoid Asking for Help

This reluctance to ask for help keeps us from getting bogged down with more work than necessary and is an important factor in feeling always overwhelmed at work.

In a global study I recently conducted on overwork that surveyed 730 full-time working professionals, I examined various personal factors (not the amount of work itself), and lack of help-seeking tied as one of the top two predictors of feeling overwhelmed at work, with the second highest correlation with being overwhelmed. Those who did not seek help scored 23% higher on overwhelm.

In my work as an executive coach, I see people avoid asking for help often because of limiting beliefs or assumptions about who they are. fear can happen when they ask a partner for help. Some of the more common limiting beliefs include:

  • I feel weak or incompetent
  • I am impossible to others or seem needy
  • Others will lose faith in me
  • I can’t trust anyone, so I have to do everything myself

Part of feeling overwhelmed is feeling alone in our challenges, which is more likely to happen if we don’t ask for help. Deborah Grayson Riegel, executive coach and coauthor of Get Help: 31 Strategies for Offering, Asking, and Receiving Help shared that if we hold the limiting beliefs above, “We tend to feel reluctance, shame, isolation, shame, etc. As a result of these feelings, behaviors that appear such as resistance, withdrawal, isolation, excessive performance, etc. “

If these limiting assumptions are causing you to be alone instead of asking for help when you’re overwhelmed at work, it requires breaking or “unlearning” these old beliefs that no longer serve you. This is the hard part of change – and frankly, why I have a job as a coach.

While this represents a more difficult challenge than the technical aspects of how to ask for help.

How to Change Your Mindset About Asking for Help

To break free from your reluctance to ask for help, try the following strategies:

1. Recognize the limiting beliefs and assumptions that are holding you back.

Often these beliefs are not fully conscious, as many people operate on autopilot. You may have a vague idea of ​​your resistance but you can’t clearly articulate its exact source. Ask yourself “What am I afraid will happen if I ask for help?” Once you’ve answered this question, double-check by asking, And what is the evil consequence of that?”

For Anita, a private equity executive, her fear is that if she asks for help, she will tarnish her do-it-all rock-star image and people will see her as having lost her mojo.

These fears are emotional – irrational – and can be difficult to accept, even for ourselves. They also make us human. You may need to sit with these two questions and meditate for the answers to emerge. Journaling or talking to a trusted friend, colleague or trained coach or therapist can help you uncover the main internal barrier(s) holding you back.

2. Reflect on the source of your limiting beliefs.

Thinking about where or how your reluctance to ask for help initially developed can provide useful insights.

Sam, a digital marketing consultant, has always prided himself on his self-confidence, which he developed early in life. Ironically, this quality helped make him successful in his career, but later became an obstacle that prevented him from drowning in work. He held the limiting belief that “I have to do everything myself, because no one will help me,” because as a child, that was true. The adults in his life are absent or neglectful. However, now, as an adult in a different workplace context, this assumption no longer applies to the people he works with. Looking at the origins of your limiting beliefs will help you see them more objectively. Although it still feels real, it is, in fact, no longer real.

Riegel also shared that “starting around seven years old, we start to associate asking for help with reputational costs. We’re conditioned to think ‘They’ll think I’m dumb/bad/lazy/weak if I’ll admit I’ve needed help’ for decades.” Perhaps this is why those over the age of 55, as my work study revealed, are more likely to ask for help – we tend to care less about what others think after middle life. This age group, in fact, also feels less overwhelmed by work than other age groups.

Riegel continues that others may also “experience help that doesn’t help at all, like people who offer to help and then take it completely and do it themselves, or people who offer to help us, and then get rejected.” “They think we don’t need help,” or offer the wrong kind of help, leaving us even more frustrated. Having any of these experiences (or several of them) can make you to generalize and believe that “help doesn’t help much” or that “if one person doesn’t help, no one else will.” Stepping back to reflect on this will enable you to better see the limitations of your thinking.

3. Try small experiments.

Make small changes in behavior to see the effect on how you feel or the response you get from others. It can be something as simple as “Can I brainstorm with you for five minutes?” or “Would you be willing to look at my client’s proposal and share your feedback with me?”

You can also observe how you perceive others who ask you for help. Do you think they are not very smart or competent? Or do you see their request for help as something normal and something you would be happy to do (independent of whether you can help them)?

4. Share with others.

Let others know that you are trying to get better at asking for help. Sharing it with colleagues will not only ask for their support but will make it easier for you to make the request when the time comes – it will also be the main reason that they will be more receptive to these requests, providing positive reinforcement for your behavior. seeking help further reduces your reluctance to reach out for support.

5. Create opportunities for practice, structure, and accountability.

Set tangible, specific goals or structures for yourself that provide opportunities to practice and have a system of accountability. You can set a daily or weekly goal of how many requests for help you can make. To create accountability, you can work with a coach or report back to a friend or colleague. If you’re good at holding yourself accountable, you can create a customized tracker.

An exercise I often give to clients (especially those looking for a new job, who real need to ask for help from others) is to get 20 no – in the two decades I’ve been coaching, no one has ever collected it. You can also track your daily stress level on a scale of one to 10. If your score is eight or higher, find out what made your score so high, and then get help with anything that can bring your stress level down to at least a six or seven, if not lower. Practicing asking for help in your personal life also helps build this muscle.

6. Go back and reflect often.

Meditation is where a lot of learning happens. Find a regular time and rhythm (eg, daily/weekly) to ask yourself some good reflective questions like:

  • Where can I ask for help?
  • What makes it easy to do?
  • Where did I not ask for help when I could have used it?
  • What stopped me?
  • Where can I get the next chance to ask for help?
  • What should I try different next time?

This reflection doesn’t have to take a lot of time (it can take as little as five to 10 minutes), but it’s important that it happens, whether you’re pondering these questions, journaling your answers to them, or talking part of it. another person, or all of the above.

Overcoming your reluctance to ask for help takes continued practice, reflection, and integrating new thoughts. By unlearning old, counterproductive patterns that prevent you from asking for help when you really need it and relearning new ways of operating, you’ll feel more supported and less burdened with work.

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