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In the last week I’ve had four different conversations with four different clients in four different industries – with one common theme:

Although I’ve offered to support participants of training and facilitated meetings with the application of strategies and skills back on the job, at no charge and in complete confidentiality, there have been no takers.

Executives are mystified but I tell them that in my many years of working in my field, not utilizing available resources and trying to go it alone is the norm, not the exception. Asking for and receiving help seems to be universally avoided.                              

I know it’s not always easy for ME to ask for help, so I thought about what might be holding eope back from getting assistance.

  • Never Learned How – If you don’t have role models that ask for help well, you may never have learned how to gracefully ask and receive help. If people demand or repeatedly over-depend on you, it can annoy you when others ask for help – and you may think that if YOU asked for help, they’d feel exactly the same way.   
  • Independence Always –   Independent and self-sufficient gets translated into ‘always’ rather than something to aspire to frequently. You may also be the person who doesn’t join groups or invite people over for an evening.
  • Easier/Better/Faster To Do it Myself – It also may be that you worry that if someone does something to help you out, you might owe them something in return.
  • Fear – People are afraid of looking like they don’t know something other’s (or they themselves) think they SHOULD know. The shame of looking ‘less than’ in someone’s eyes (boss, peers, and consultant) keeps people from asking for the very thing that would help them look better.
  • Control – Letting someone else assist can mean that some of the control is relinquished or shared. This is scary for those who don’t trust others.

While I and the Executives I work with can’t make people ask for help, they can ask what s holding people back from utilizing resources that enable them to be more effective and efficient. Senior level folks can express concern that these employees appear to be working harder but not smarter.

Like not wearing life-vests on a ship because you can swim – it begs the question: if we are out in the middle of the bay and the boat capsizes, who is going to be the smarter passenger; the one who swims for shore or the one who has the life vest on?

This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011 at 8:46 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.