How to Seek Help as a leader?


We all need someone to lean on. (You, too). And sometimes we discover we can’t do it all, after all. So how do you request for help? Maybe the thing we must concentrate on is why you don’t.  It’s natural to think these things if you’re the leader of a company or team:

  • You have to have all the explanations.
  • You’re thought to be done learning.
  • You’re being observed and being assessed.

And on that last point? You apparently are, if we’re honest. Yet the unusual thing is that if you are unable to delegate work to your team or seek support from outsiders, whatever leadership skills you may have is incomplete.  Why do people have a difficult experience asking for help?

Here are just a few instances:

  1. They’re annoyed that they need it.
  2. They’re ashamed that they need it.
  3. They don’t see or acknowledge it.
  4. They don’t see or acknowledge how they’re harming others with their demand that they don’t need to grow or change.

There are other causes, too. How do you ask for help, or to change, and then receive that well?

It’s a matter of seeing to let go, being clear about the goal – which should be immediately tied to what’s essential to your customers – and being resilient in how you meet it. And obedience helps, too. Here are a few other guidelines if it’s hard for you to delegate, which is just one of the skills that many people need to study and exercise:

1. Define the customer-focused goal or target.

2. Make it clear what the limits are for this work, and how it fits into the whole.

3. Envision the situation working. If you can’t assume that it will, the odds are, it won’t, or you may find ways to mess it up, “proving” that it doesn’t work (surprisingly, but, yes, sternly).

4. Figure out the information flow and follow-up tools, including how and when you’ll check-in, and what patterns or other indicators you’ll use as the basis of communication about progress and status as the work yields.

5. Know what data and contact you need while the work is underway to feel comfortable, or as comfortable as you’re going to be, letting go.

6. Be transparent about who’s going to do what. It’s natural for two people to be waiting for the other to finish the same thing…each thinking it’s the other’s job. In that case, deadlines are dropped, among other things. Or two people can be doing the same work, each thinking it’s their job, so the work is duplicated. Spell it out, then play it out.

7. Be clear about work and quality measures, and what they’re based on. These standards should in some way be directly tied to what’s important to your customers.

8. Be realistic about the things you’re concerned about, as the work begins, and as it proceeds. And those things you least want to talk about? Talk about them. These analyses could be crucial to success if you do or directly lead to failure if you don’t.

When your concerns see the light of day, you may recognize they’re nothing to worry about. And if they are worry-worthy, well, the sooner you get to work checking them out, and changing, the better. Keep in mind your overall goal, and the customers for it, as you consider what help may lead you to succeed even more. Sometimes your short-term satisfaction is what you most have to let go as you reach for change, and then develop and grow.

Change just feels strange…briefly.

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