It is important to remember that asking for help is not a sign of weakness or incompetence; on the contrary, it has often been said that asking for help is a sign of strength.
Here are some helpful tips:
- Make sure you really need help
While there is nothing wrong with asking for help, it is always good to make sure that you really need it before you ask for it – always try to solve the problem yourself first, and don’t forget to explore all the possible solutions, including the simple ones! Once you’re sure that you are unable to solve the problem yourself, it’s time to acknowledge that you need assistance.
- Know when to throw in the towel
Although it is always good to try to solve the problem yourself, it is also important to know when you have spent enough time on it and need to ask for help. Why not implement a “three strikes” policy? If you’ve been unsuccessful three times in a row, now’s the time to ask for help.
- Know exactly what you need
This might sound simple but when you’re in the middle of a problem, sometimes it’s hard to know exactly what you need. An easy way to figure it out is to simply write things down. Prepare a list of questions or options before you approach someone – not only will this show them that you have thought through the issue yourself first, but it will also help to clarify your thoughts and allow others to assess your ideas, thus potentially turning your “cry for help” into a collaborative session.
- Make sure you are making “SMART” requests
A good request is “SMART”: Specific, Meaningful (why you need it), Action-oriented (ask for something to be done), Real (authentic, not made up), and Time-bound (when you need it). Making sure that your requests adhere to this not only makes it clear for you, but it also makes it easier for the other party to respond to you.
- Be generous with your assistance too
By being someone who is quick to help others when they need it, you may be more likely to get the help you need when you ask. Having a positive reputation may make others want to help you – even if you haven’t directly helped an individual before. But remember that this is an ongoing dynamic; helping an individual just that one time six months ago isn’t going to carry you very far if you don’t keep it up.