Three Things To NEVER Do When Asking For Help

Drowning-Sea

96% of executives cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication as the main source of workplace failures.

Why are collaboration and effective communication so vital?

It’s because these skills are precisely what’s needed to navigate a volatile work world of speed and constant change.  People who have these qualities are better equipped to solve complex problems, innovate, and continually adapt to their business environment.

To collaborate well, you’re going to need to ask others for help.

How you go about asking for help can make or break  your business relationships.

Here are three things to NEVER do:

  1. Be the Black Hole of Help

Peter is a Sales Manager for a midsize Pharma company.  He’s got a reputation within his team.  A member of his team described him this way:

Peter’s a ‘Black Hole’.  When he asks for something, if you send it, you get no response. Nothing.  Nada. No thank you, no acknowledgement, nothing.  It just disappears.   Frankly, it’s just plain rude.

I’m sure you know some ‘Black Holes’.   The reason you don’t like working with them is because they are violating the first law of influence:  The Law of Reciprocity.  When people give something, they expect something (even a quick ‘got it’) in return.

If you have the habit of being a Black Hole, you’ll have to work hard to keep building new bridges, because the old ones wind up in flames.

2. The About-Face

Betsy is a HR Director at an IT company.  A new member of her team described her behavior to me this way:

Betsy had a presentation to give to the Executive Committee on the most recent Employee Engagement survey. Betsy complains how the ExCom is constantly dumping more work on her, and she reached out for help.  She was completely freaked out that the ExCom would pick her apart in the meeting.

She asked if I’d host some additional focus groups and gathering some more qualitative data that she could present.   I did.  I spent two days of time on it.  I compiled it, condensed it, and cleaned it up to get it C-Suite ready.

The day after her presentation, I asked Betsy how things went.  She said it went great.  

What I didn’t find out for another couple of weeks (and not from Betsy) was that she never used any of the work that I did.  She ended up using some other data.  She completely wasted my time.

3. Achievement Amnesia

This is a horrible affliction.  It’s where someone asks for help, then succeeds, then takes credit for having done all of the work.

Poaching praise from others is one of the quickest ways to make enemies and tick people off.  If you’re going to ask for help, remember those people along the way.

On the flip side, when  you share recognition with others, they become fiercely loyal to you.  It also sets you up amazingly well for future collaboration.

What other things should you never do when asking for help?  Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.

This entry was posted in Communication, Leadership, Trust. Bookmark the permalink.