When was the last time you asked for help or advice at work?
There’s an unfortunate convention in many companies that discourages requests for support, whether knowledge or aid in tasks. Most people are hired and given titles based on their expertise, and we’ve been raised in a reality where you have to prove that you’re worthy of your title and job.
For example, if you’re hired to be a CFO, you have to demonstrate you’re good at being a CFO, meaning you make the right decisions, have the right thinking and perspectives, know the right direction for the company and prove your knowledge is valuable through results.
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People often perceive that if they ask for advice, it will look like they don’t have the expertise or knowledge to be in their position. This is especially true for those in higher-level positions: asking for help might seem like you don’t know something.
We’re entrained to prove that we know everything, and if you don’t know, then you need to go find the information, but quietly, so nobody else knows that you had to look it up!
What if all of this is actually hindering you and your company from being a greater contribution to the world?
Business coach, Daria Hanson shares three ways that asking for help is important for your business.
Reaching out for help and advice takes you outside your intellectual reach to pull in other perspectives that can contribute to your business. Otherwise, you only allow contribution from what you and your team knows, limiting it to a smaller amount of experience and expertise.
For example, I’ve been creating a company and asking people what they perceive is missing in the world of fashion. When I talk to people, the nuances they perceive are very different based on their experience. It’s like a jigsaw puzzle. I find pieces that I was not aware of, creating a bigger picture than what was available from my limited point of view.
Any point of view you have limits you because it cuts off all awareness of anything that doesn’t match that point of view. Asking for advice allows you to expand to include more perspectives, creating a better product or service in your business.
Tool: Go beyond any “fear” of asking for help. What if you’re not actually afraid, but are excited to create greater with someone else’s contribution?
When you ask others for assistance, it empowers them to contribute to a different possibility. Many people don’t know what they know (or aren’t acknowledging that they know it). When you ask, they have to reach into the deepest parts of themselves to see how they can help you. It’s a gift to others when you make a request; it helps them feel valuable and appreciated. When we feel appreciated we want to contribute more, sometimes even doing what we can to expand what we know to contribute greater value.
Tool: Ask, but don’t limit how help and advice can come to you. In other words, don’t expect it to come the way you’ve decided it should; give people the space to contribute the way they can, which might be very different (and even greater) than you anticipated.
Have you ever noticed what happens when you have too much on your plate? If you’re like most people, you’re in a sprint to get things done, the to-do list dominating your awareness. Asking for aid can create more space that allows you to step back for a moment, see the bigger picture, and expand the business.
For example, I recently had too many things on my task list that had to be taken care of daily, taking up my entire focus. I then gave some of those tasks to someone else, and it freed me up to wonder and ask questions about a particular area of the company. Out of my inquiry and finding out what was happening, I ended up creating a whole new revenue stream for the company.
Tool: What could you ask for help in accomplishing, that if you did, would give you the space to create more value in your position and a different future for your business?
A long time ago, a friend of mine said to me: “You don’t need to know everything, you just need to know how to ask questions.” When you’re willing to ask for help and advice, it empowers you through new knowledge and perspectives, and it empowers others through knowing what they know and being valued. Finally, it allows for an exponential expansion of the possibilities with the business and its contribution to the world.
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