People are often worried about asking colleagues, or their managers, for help. They perhaps fear being rejected, or are concerned that they will be seen as a nuisance to be adding to their colleagues’ already full plate. They may feel like they’re taking up resources or be perceived as weak. These concerns may stop us from going ahead with a project or end up wasting valuable time trying to figure out something on our own. Fortunately, many of these worries and anxieties are just that and are often misconceptions. Let’s go through these concerns and find out have of them are actually misperceptions.

asking for help

Asking for help translates as a sign of weakness.

It is quite possible that many may avoid asking their colleagues for help because they are concerned that they are perceived as weak. Unfortunately, this leads to wasted time trying to achieve something or find out something which colleagues already have the answer to and possibly avoiding doing something for fear of seeming weak. Fortunately, studies show that this is, in fact, a myth. Although it may “out” our limitations, people are less likely to judge us negatively for our imperfections than we think. In a time like this, it would also benefit our mental health to nurture an environment of help-seeking.

Colleagues will only help if they have to.

Many may also hesitate to ask for help out of fear that they will an inconvenience to their colleagues, and they will only help if they have to. However, as behavioural psychology would tell us, asking for and giving help tends to create a more friendly bond and people will automatically like you more when you’ve asked them for help. In doing so, you are forming a social connection with the person and the person’s perception of you is likely to improve more than anything else. We should also keep in mind, that if we ask for help and receive a no, it is usually due to circumstances rather than because the person doesn’t want to help us or dislikes us.

The fear of “no”.

The fear of rejection is many a time one of the reasons which inhibit us from simply asking. People are usually more willing to help than we think, and usually tend to go above and beyond. So don’t be discouraged, go ahead and ask!

The bottom line is – go for it! In this trying time, it is more crucial than ever to cultivate a help-seeking environment and promote synergy between individuals, teams and across organisations. If you’re a manager, encourage your team to ask for help and remind them that no question is a stupid question. If you’re an employer, don’t be discouraged if you get a no. Ask again later, or ask someone else!

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