How to Ask for Help at Work

October 2, 2019by Michael Kelfer

Few people like to ask for help. Even fewer people like to ask for help at work. They worry they’ll be perceived as incompetent, annoying or lazy by their coworkers or believe asking for help means they aren’t up to snuff. But whether you’ve just received a promotion, landed your first job out of college or are making a career change, the modern workforce requires collaboration and cooperation – traits you won’t find working on your own. In fact, failing to ask for help might actually hurt your performance rather than help it. A study by researchers at the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business and Virginia Tech’s Pamplin College of Business found that people with negative views about accepting help at work are more likely to be dissatisfied with their jobs and think about quitting. They also tend to have lower levels of job performance and are less willing to go the extra mile for their organization. So how can you ask for help at work without feeling like you’re imposing? Here are a few ideas. Get over your fear of rejection One of the reasons people don’t ask for help is because they’re afraid of rejection. But the fact is, most people are surprisingly willing to lend a hand. A 2008 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people underestimate by as much as 50% the likelihood that others will agree to a direct request for help. Clearly, people are more helpful than we tend to give them credit for. So tune out that negative voice in your head telling you nobody wants to help out. Chances are, all you need to do is ask. Think it through first Do you have a problem you just can’t seem to solve on your own? Explore the possible solutions – even the obvious ones – before going to others for help. Most people have had the experience of calling an IT Help Desk with a computer problem, only to have the tech ask whether you’ve tried turning your computer off and on again. So Read More »

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