How to Ask for Help Without Asking for Help

No matter how often people tell you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

It might be because you’ve not performed a specific task before. Maybe you’re not clear on instructions or the strategy for the path forward. You might just feel overwhelmed because there is so much to do and not enough hours in the day to do it.

But regardless, you feel asking for help will show weakness to your direct reports, colleagues, and manager.

So what’s the answer? There are ways to ask people for help without seeming like you’re requesting assistance. If you want support from people without asking for it, then try some of these tips.

Start Saying No

When the workload is getting overwhelming, it’s time to start saying no to things. Stop going to meetings that don’t provide value. Don’t go to workshops that are not part of the company strategy. You want to go back to basics and start from scratch.

This doesn’t mean you don’t offer an explanation as to why you’re declining invites left, right, and centre. Let your stakeholders know where your focus is and what you’re working on. It will help them recalibrate what to include you in and what to invite you to. You should notice a significant difference in how many emails you receive and the number of appointments in your calendar.

Seek Feedback

Instead of asking for help from colleagues or your manager, ask for feedback from them. You can frame the conversation around where they think you need to turn your focus. It will help you get direction and provide you with permission to push non-related activities to the side.

You could also seek feedback on your thinking or approach. Explain your strategy and what you believe to be the way forward. Get opinions and use this to tweak or reshape your plan. The more people you speak to, the better. You don’t need to take every bit of advice. But you should consider it.

Team Up

There’s the classic saying that a problem shared is a problem halved. If you have a 2IC or people in your team looking for leadership development, collaborate with them. Talk through your issues, concerns, or workload and discuss what the best way forward is.

Try to avoid delegating. This is just moving the problem elsewhere. Work together to determine what needs to be done and what doesn’t. They may have ideas on how to do something better or let you know that something you’re doing has no benefit to the broader team.

Get a Mentor

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or have too much on your plate, turn this into a development opportunity by finding a mentor. Choose someone that is outside of your department if you can. It should be an individual who is neutral but can also relate to the issues you’re dealing with.

In these conversations, you’re not asking for help. You’re requesting advice and picking the brains of someone who has done it all before. The goal is for you to broaden your perspective and learn new strategies for managing your workload. It will also let you know that you’re not alone.

There’s Nothing Wrong With Asking for Help

Any leader will tell you that there’s nothing wrong with asking for help. But you no doubt want to prove that you don’t need it or let your superiors know they made the right decision by giving you this role. So if you don’t want to ask for help, try one of these tactics to help you get the support you need.

For other forms of support, follow the Better Boss Blog. You’ll find tips, tricks, and advice on how to manage your workload and execute your strategy. Follow pwf services on LinkedIn, Instagram, and Facebook, so you never miss a post.

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