Overcoming The Fear of Asking For Help

Overcoming The Fear Of Asking For Help

In most organizations, the managers and executives always lament the lack of cooperation and collaboration among their teams. But more often than not, the culprit isn’t their employees’ unwillingness to give others a hand — it’s the fact that most people simply don’t, or won’t, ask for help.

The most common obstacles to asking for help are our thoughts. Some of which are:

  • I don’t need help (Ego)
  • I should do this myself (Overconfidence)
  • I don’t want to bother anyone
  • Asking for help makes me look weak, lazy, incapable, selfish, etc. (Fear of Failure)
  • Thinking no one wants to help or will understand my requirements

But for every thought that blocks us from asking for and receiving the help we both need and deserve, there is a counter thought that will help us access the support we need.

1. Give Others The Opportunity To Contribute

People love to contribute. We get fulfilled as human beings when we help others. Yet when someone doesn’t ask for help or assistance, for fear of causing inconvenience to others, they rip us off of the opportunity to contribute. It is like they are withholding a precious gift of support to themselves. The other thing to remember is that while people are not obligated to help you, you can always give them a chance to do so. Once you realize that, you’ll be more open to asking for assistance.

2. Focus On The End Result

Your top priority at work should be to effectively complete the task at hand. When your focus is on the end result, you won’t shirk in asking for help. Besides, seeking help from your co-workers will open doors for them to approach you when they need help from you. This will improve interpersonal relationships and promote a congenial working environment.

3. Tell Them Why You Chose Them Specifically

In some instances, it’s a good idea to let the other party know why you chose them for the task. When a specific someone comes to mind, be forthright about the reasons why you chose them. They will feel good about your observations and it helps to move the conversation right to the point.

4. Consider The Possible Outcome of Not Asking For Help

To move past this fear, consider the alternative — if you don’t ask for help and somehow mess up, wouldn’t that be a worse outcome and possibly cause an inconvenience to others even more? Asking for help demonstrates self-awareness and an orientation towards learning, and it helps build trust with your colleagues. Through your courage, you also make it easier for others to ask for help.

5. Change The Context

If reaching out for support still feels uncomfortable, change the way you define it. Instead of “asking for help,” think of it as strategic data-gathering. Collecting input. Clarifying. Collaborating. Getting confirmation. You’re completing an important and necessary part of the project by exploring all of the options. Yes, it’s basically a shift in semantics. But it might be a great first step in helping you get over your fear of asking for help.

When operating within a modern organization, it’s nearly impossible to advance without assistance from others. Taking advantage of cross-functional teams and collaborative office cultures could be the key on finding the best solution to your task or project.

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