In the following article, let’s see how to ask for help at work and lend the same to others in the Corporate World.

At workplace, employees often are of a particular thought – that if they approach their coworkers for help, they would  not be as welcoming. When stuck in something they are finding difficult to manage, employees tend to think that to ask for help at work from colleagues is a big no-no! As in, to ask for help at work is a sign that they are either incapable of doing the task or not confident enough.

On the other hand, these negative vibes even force the leaders to assume that the organization is not growing as it is supposed to. And the primary reason of which being lack of cooperation and collaboration among employees.

Majority of the times, it is not true that employees are not willing to extend a helping hand to their coworkers in need. But the fact is that people are reluctant enough to ask for help in the first place. With the thoughts of being mocked at, or perhaps getting nervous to put their query forth, employees rather stay mum.

At such situations, it is only good to let go of any such prejudices. In fact, these pointers shall help you ask for help in a better way.

Be generous and help others first

Sure, it might sound overrated in a way, but being generous at workplace is one of the greatest thing that can be done. But it doesn’t mean going out of the way and helping others time and again that they feel annoyed.

Start by building a positive rapport with everyone in your office and be known as a cheerful person. Let them know they can count upon you whenever your coworkers are in some official mishap. Be there for everyone, even those who might not like you or your attitude.

The after-effects of your reputation tend to last shorter, as they might forget the good things you might have done for them. So try renewing your ‘helpful’ attitude on a regular basis.

Prepare your questions beforehand

It may sound a bit vague, but most people at times are clueless about what has to be asked. As in, what should be asked and how the team need to be approached when help at work is needed. At the most, many people struggle with the task of coming up with their request.

Imagine you have a room full of well-connected and knowledgeable coworkers. Now there can be an instance wherein you are not able to put forth your question as you cannot crystallize your thought. This can mainly happen due to lack of confidence. But that’s understandable. And you wouldn’t want your teammates to give you an ear while you’re stammering with your request.

To avoid such an embarrassing situation, you need to prepare well and do your homework beforehand. Stay clear about the current project, write down your questions, mention actionable steps and the resources that would suffice for it. Also give a brief outline of your thoughts so that your coworkers are sure about your awareness regarding the project and your questions.

Use the SMART technique

Once you’ve done your homework, be sure to use the SMART technique so that your thoughts are properly conveyed to your team. Here’s how:

S – Specific (clear, and to the point)

M – Meaningful (why you’ll need it)

A – Action-oriented (ask for something that need to be done)

R – Real (authentic questions)

T – Time-bound (set a time-frame)

The main advantage of a SMART request is that it is easier to be responded than the one which misses out on even one criteria. When you design your questions based on the SMART technique, your team would find it simpler to answer you as the method conveniently breaks down complex requests.

Avoid assuming your team won’t help

When you start assuming your team would not be able to lend help at work the way you expected, you’re making a big mistake. Instead, you need to avoid underestimating their unwillingness to help you as that might not be knowing what people know and how they would be able to help you. Unless of course, you ask for help, and that too in a good way.

Their enthusiasm to help you basically depends on what and how you’re making the request.

Build a favourable work culture

Last but not the least, build a favourable work culture wherein it is easier to ask for and lend help. This can be done by creating a rapport, and setting cordial norms and practices in the work environment.

Like for instance, IDEO, one of the leading product design firms, offers strong principles that encourage its employees to ask for and give help. Employees at IDEO describe their firm to be having a culture of helping the designers who are provided training right from the beginning that they will need help and what are the best ways to ask for it.

In such a friendly work environment where help is asked and given, it creates a sense of psychological safety, hence enhancing productivity. People at IDEO say the culture of helping one another maintains a healthy track record of wonderfully designed products that are loved by their clients.

What you learnt?

At your workplace, you can build a healthy bond with your coworkers and maintain it, only when the same is reciprocated. To ask for help at work and lend the same is very quintessential key for success at workplace. When you just keep giving and never ask for anything, people would want to reciprocate it. Hence, be both — a giver and a taker at the same time.