But never getting to the answer isn’t. Asking for help is also a sign of strength rather than weakness. Do you show that in your choices as a leader? Most people don’t want to ask for help or to admit that we don’t know the answer or how to do something. Interestingly, though, most of us also love being asked for help and to show the things we’ve learned during our life.
When you recognize the truth of that last statement, you should allow it to change your approach moving forward, especially with your people. When they see you are willing to show you don’t have all the answers, that you can ask for help, or better understanding from others, especially those on your team … you give them the nod for doing the same too.
Having Trouble With a Specific …
When you have a specific problem and don’t know answers or need a little mentoring, take a few minutes (or hours) to research who can help. You might find a book on the subject and get that kind of help. You might also be researching who in your company has the understanding you lack currently. If that’s the case, don’t be shy, ask them when they have a few minutes, but if it is a simple help that can be done during working hours, show them the respect of acknowledgment for their help and the resource they have become.
But it will also help if you have specific needs to make a list of your questions or what you want to learn in the process. This means you won’t be wasting either of your time, it also allows the other person to let you know if there are areas of what you want that they are less sure about how they can help. Allow people to succeed when you ask for their help.
As You Learn
Remember, you are asking for help because you don’t know the answers or how to do something. Give yourself time to learn, forgive any mistakes you make, and get up and dust yourself off when you fail while learning. As much as you want to look great in front of your people, it won’t hurt for them to see you as your struggle a bit either. It gives your people permission to not be perfect as well. That may sound like you are okay with subpar efforts, but, in fact, it means people can do their best work and not always worry about covering their backside.
At some point, start talking about what you learned, the process of learning, what you discovered about yourself while learning, all of it. Talk about why you started and use all of that information to start a conversation with your people. As you talk, you’ll probably begin to incorporate the understanding deeper, but it can also open you up to other resources.
It’s surprising who other people know that could take you to the next level – you miss the surprise of that if you don’t speak up.
Ronn Torossian is the Founder and CEO of the New York based public relations firm 5WPR: one of the 20 largest PR Firms in the United States.