Asking For Help Can Help Your Career

Something to think about… and that it’s okay.  Enjoy.


Question mark in Esbjerg
Question mark in Esbjerg (Photo credit: alexanderdrachmann)


If you’re struggling with your workload or with a particular task, it can be difficult to ask your boss or your colleagues for help. If you admit that you can’t handle everything, will they think that you’re not capable? After all, you should be able to do your work on your own, right?


Asking for help makes many of us uncomfortable.  But it’s critical especially when risks are involved. After all, would you rather get the help you need or jeopardize your career by missing key deadlines, or producing poor-quality work? What’s more, many bosses operate a “no surprises” rule – they’d much rather be alerted to a problem early than be surprised (and perhaps embarrassed by it)


Ask the Right Way


There are right ways and wrong ways to ask for help. Asking for help the right way can make you look as if you’re in control, and can help you seem focused and dignified. Asking the wrong way could make others think that you don’t have control of the situation or that you’re unable to handle the stress of your job. Here’s how to ask for help the right way:


  • Realize that people may be happy to help you.
    People are often flattered that you’ve asked them for their expertise. So, don’t be nervous.
  • Practice or role-play how you’ll ask.
    Realize that your body language sometimes says far more than your words. Also control your words and emotions.  If you become anxious or babbling or intimidating , it may not only damage your reputation but it can make the other person reluctant to help.
  • Explain what steps you’ve already taken. 
    This shows that you’ve done what you sensibly can to resolve the situation yourself.
  • Develop possible solutions on your own. 
    For instance, don’t say, “I can’t handle my workload.” Instead say, “I think that handing over Project X to Karen will help me to put my full focus on Projects Y and Z.”
  • Be specific about what you need. 
    Don’t make a vague request such as, “I need help with this report.” Instead, explain precisely what you need: “I’m having difficulty creating an Excel template to generate graphs. Can you please help me with that?”
  • Show appreciation.
    Always say thank you after someone has helped you. If you’re in a leadership role and a team member gave you much-needed assistance, you might want to offer some type of reward, or at least thank the person in front of the team.
  • Offer your help in return.
    Whenever people help you, make sure they know that you’re happy to consider returning the favor if they ever need it.


Career Success Tip:


Most of us will need to ask for help at some point in our careers. This may be difficult, especially for managers, but it shows that we have humility and good judgment. Do a self-assessment first. Learn how to get organized or manage your time better, if this is the source of the problem. If you do need to ask for help, do so when you’re fully in control of your actions and emotions. Be aware of your body language and develop possible solutions that show that you’ve tried to solve the problem yourself. See Are You a Workaholic?


Do you want to develop Career Smarts?



Read more at Asking For Help Can Help Your Career | Career Management.


About Kelly Business Advisors, LLC

Early in his career John started-up and sold 7 years later a Moving and Storage Company in Milwaukee. He acquired and was President of Kelly Pickle Company f/k/a Bond Pickle Company, in Oconto, WI for 12 years. Built a monthly round-table networking group of manufactures in Oconto. Developed marketing plans, sales plans, products and implemented lean manufacturing practices with many North American companies. Worked with non-profits as both a front line leader and behind the scenes. He is active in his church, a member of the Green Bay Chamber of Commerce,Business Networkers International (BNI) and now is joining the Green Bay Downtown Rotary.

One thought on “Asking For Help Can Help Your Career

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s