How to ask for help

Last week we talked about me, as a college student, struggling with how much people frown upon asking for help. Taking my own advice, I reached out to the Founder and CEO of The Mentor Method, Janice Omadeke, and asked her for help. Today, Janice will tell us all about how to ask for help in order to get you ready for the new year.

Why you should ask for help.

  1. It’s Entrepreneurial. “Part of being an effective people manager and entrepreneur is being able to ask for help when you need it from people who can give you the advice or help you need”.

  2. Your boss may appreciate it! “I absolutely love when one of my employees asks for help. I always ask my team if they have any questions, but also encourage them to ask me questions. I appreciate when someone shows initiative, but I think that asking questions while you’re developing a new idea, or trying to make sure you’re on top of deadlines, is always appreciated.”

  3. It’s not the easy or lazy way out. “It takes a lot of guts and leadership potential to ask for help, and I respect anyone who brings that to the table. Plus it shows a level of caring about the work, the company, and being a teammate”.

What to keep in mind in the beginning.

  1. When you’re having trouble asking for help. “When I was in the early part of my career, I was worried that it would make me look like I couldn’t do my job, or that they picked the wrong person for the task”.

  2. Frequency. “When I speak with an advisor, mentor, or business partner, I ask them how often they’re comfortable hearing from me in regards to asking for help so that we’re on the same page from the start”.

  3. Just start trying. “Practice makes perfect. It may be difficult now, but it gets easier the more you do it. The worst someone can say is “no”. And if they do, you won’t die from it. So just give it a shot and be proud of yourself when you take those steps!”

How to ask for help.

  1. Make a plan. “Before asking for help, I think about why I need it, how someone can help, and get to the bottom of the issue. That way, when I do make the ask, it’s efficient, thoughtful, and can make it easier to get the help needed”

  2. Ask, ask, ask. “I recommend not making it a demand. You need the person’s help, so give them room to say no if they can’t help, and be grateful if they do help you”.

  3. Don’t come solutionless. “Don’t present a problem without thinking of at least 3 solutions yourself. When you’re asking for help, mention the solutions you thought of and ask them if they have any other suggestions or ways they can help. It helps the other person save time brainstorming, and you’ll get the help you need instead of something you already thought of”.

When it doesn’t go the way you were expecting.

  1. Keep Moving. “Get over yourself and don’t worry so much about being wrong. It’s better to ask, find out if you’re in the right direction, show you care about getting the job done correctly, and do it well”.

  2. When you hear “no”. “When I get a rude response, let it roll off your back and keep moving forward. If that's how they treat people, do you really want their help anyway? Take it as a sign of their personality, be grateful that you dodged a bullet and find someone who is actually willing to help out”.

  3. When you don’t ask. “ My very first job. I was given an assignment that wasn’t clear. Instead of asking for help or clarification, I took it and ran with it. Unfortunately, I ran in the wrong direction. It cost my team an additional day of work, an embarrassing conversation with my boss at the time, and needing to work overtime to make sure I stayed in their good graces to maintain a positive professional brand. After that, I made sure to ask for clarification, and not be afraid to ask for help to avoid spending wasted time later”.

When it goes your way.

  1. Show your gratitude. “Be sure to phrase it in a way that makes them understand how their contribution plays a bigger part in your career, the project, or how it’ll help others”.

  2. Pay it forward. “When you get to a position where someone earlier in your career asks for your help, be sure to push the ladder down and help them. You were once in their shoes, so practice the same help you’re requesting now”.

Go off, get asking.

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