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Leadership: The Art of Asking for Help

Posted by Jenna Baskin on 26/09/2016
Jenna Baskin
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Managers have a lot on their plate

From day-to-day tasks to urgent, pressing conflicts, the best managers calmly resolve issues and listen to client concerns without breaking a sweat. You may think it’s impossible to manage your house, your work, yourself and your children.

It just about is - until you ask for help.

In fact, asking for help has been given all sorts of terms in the business world: delegation, outsourcing, team building, optimization, efficiency design. What do these have in common? Need and solutions. Help.

This is what separates great leaders from average ones. The art of asking for help - one of the powerful leadership tips.

The best leaders know they cannot tackle the week alone, but they don’t see this fact as a minus point. Having too much work means an opportunity to pass responsibility onto to another, paving the way for future leaders to demonstrate mastery. The best managers know which team member to go to for the latest research, for the meeting summary, for help brainstorming the community event. These managers have strategically built their team around their own weaknesses, choosing to surround themselves with colleagues who will make them sharper and more efficient.

And when they ask, they don’t demand. There’s a way of asking that honors others time, abilities and makes them feel valued and not used. Even research has shown that we often underestimate the rate at which someone will help us. We shouldn’t.

Watch Amanda Palmer’s TED talk on The Art of Asking:

The Art of Asking


Asking for help isn’t limited to the workplace, either.

In all of your relationships, asking for help gives others the opportunity to meet you halfway. By asking for assistance, vulnerability and intimacy enter the picture and lead to more meaningful relationships.

People at their very core want to be helpful.

It goes both ways. A Stanford GSB professor discovered that not only do most people not ask for help when they need it, they don’t encourage others to come to them, either.

At the office, create a culture where help-giving and help-asking is equally valued and encouraged. Your team’s dynamics will be stronger for it, and your capabilities as a leader will skyrocket.

Topics: Article, MCI Live

By Jenna Baskin

Jenna Baskin is the CEO of MCI and has over 11 years’ experience in the training and education space. She was responsible for the creation of the MCI's online consumer division, the MCI Institute, and the transition of the organisation into the digital learning landscape. This includes platform partnerships across North America, unique content development, and the introduction of virtual reality learning methodologies.