You’ve reached the point of no return: You simply can’t get your work done without asking for help. It happens to everyone at some time. But, when and how should you ask without seeming incompetent or like you’re dumping a task on someone else?

Too often, people feel that asking for help will be perceived negatively, so they avoid it at any cost. Unfortunately, “cost” is the operative word here: The outcome of not requesting assistance may be far worse than the initial discomfort of doing so.

When and How to Ask

Do any of these situations feel like your unfortunate reality? If so, take heart. There is a solution.

  • You have no idea what you’re doing. There’s nothing to be gained by trying to blindly navigate an assignment you simply don’t understand. If you do, chances are it won’t end well – and you’ll have wasted your own and everyone else’s time. Plus, you’ll appear stubborn and incompetent. So, approach a supervisor or co-worker in order to get a better understanding of the task at hand.
  • You have too much on your plate. You’re snowed under with things to do – and you’ve hit your limit. You may feel like you’re shirking responsibility by asking for help, but it’s the smart thing to do.
  • You’ve made a mistake. To err is human. When it happens, the most important thing to focus on is how you react to your error. Don’t try to sweep it under the rug. If you need help to fix it, approach the right people ASAP. Prolonging your request will only make things worse.
  • You need additional expertise or insight. If you’re working on a project that could benefit from specific input from a colleague, don’t hesitate to ask for their advice. This not only leads to better results, it also fosters collaboration and teamwork.

How to Increase Your Chances of Getting Help

To increase your chances of getting assistance when you need it:

  • Lend a hand yourself. Being open to helping others is a key to career success, as it shows you care about your team, not just yourself. It’s also important for maintaining your reputation for competence. If you regularly offer to help others, then your occasional request for assistance won’t undermine their confidence in you.
  • Stay engaged with your helpers. When someone has agreed to help you, watch what they’re doing, ask questions and take notes. Stay engaged. If you pay close attention, you won’t have to ask for help with the same issue again.
  • Be precise in your ask. Asking specific questions about your problem shows your co-worker that you’re totally engaged and actively trying to resolve the issue along with them. If you ask questions that are too vague, it may appear you’re trying to dump the entire project in their lap.

At PrideStaff Fresno, we’re all about building your career – whether that means growing, learning and becoming stronger in your current role or finding your next great opportunity. Read our related posts or contact us today to learn more.

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