Asking for What You Need by Cindy Stradling CSP, CPC
It is not unusual for leaders to take too many tasks and endeavors upon themselves. While this often seems like the considerate and respectful thing to do, it can lead to having too much on your plate, and to things not getting done. Many leaders who experience difficulty in this area do so because they don’t want to ask for the help they need. They may fear they are asking too much of employees or even family members or they may feel that they should be able to do everything themselves.
One key to getting the help you need is knowing how, and when, to ask for it. When you ask in the right way and at the right time, you make it easier for people to give you the assistance you need without you feeling like you’re imposing or creating a hardship. Here are three tips for asking for help.
1. Do it early. The people you rely on are likely happy to help you. But, when you wait until a task is already late and create an emergency for the person who is helping you, it creates a hardship on another person. Of course, this is what you were likely trying to avoid. Take stock of your agenda and determine early on what you need help with. When you ask early enough, people can help you without it becoming an undue burden.
2. Be specific. It is critical that people understand what you need them to do and how it needs to be done. This way, people can get tasks taken care of in a timely fashion without having to complete work a second time to meet your expectations. Take the time required to ensure people know what you really need.
3. Consider handing the task off permanently. When you give someone a task that is a burden to you, consider handing it off to them permanently if it is done well and if the person has more capacity than you to complete the task regularly. By letting the person know you’re giving them this task on a regular basis, they can more easily balance it with the other work they are doing.
It can be hard to ask for help. But, when you ask in a way that is respectful of another’s time, and you make your expectations clear, you allow your staff to work as a team, ensuring that you can get on with the most important tasks of your day. This helps keep business running smoothly and efficiently, which makes the workday better for everyone.