When should competent leaders dare to ask for help?

leaders - leading choices

Who wins your ego, or you?

It may seem that the two are the same, but they are not. Your ego can get get in your way. Are you a leader who asks for help?

Leaders encounter this challenge at one point, or another: They are hesitant to ask for help. There’s a reason behind the common saying that “it is lonely at the top.” This statement doesn’t merely refer to the reduced number of people being able to relate to you.

When I consider this statement, I think of the many leaders I have met who will not ask for help for fear of being discredited as capable leaders. That’s what makes them feel alone, bearing the heavy burden of having to figure everything out themselves. Have you met anyone like that? It’s painful to watch.

Or, they decide to ask for help but do not acknowledge those who have been part of their success. That behavior has a more significant impact on your future as a leader and on your reputation than asking for help and sharing the wins. Who wants to work for a leader who claims he achieved it all by him/herself?

1 – Leading Thought

“It doesn't make sense to hire smart people and then tell them what to do , We hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.” – Steve Jobs Click To Tweet

2 – Your Choice

Every Leader Needs Help

Seasoned and good leaders know this, and they have learned to ask for help. They know they are not the expert in everything. They are called to lead, so that’s what they decide to do. They hire experts and lead them to provide results that contribute to great results. The result is a win for all.

As a leader who is in it for the long run, your mindset cannot be “what can they do for me.” It has to be “how can I enable those I lead to do well?” rather than the former. No leader achieved anything by themselves. Leaders require a set of people who follow their direction. You direct the experts. You have experts (vs. being the expert), and your primary responsibility is leading well.

What Are The Consequences?

  • What are your options when you decide to ask for help?
  • What would be the outcome?
  • What will happen if you decided to “go it all alone”?
  • In contrast, what happens if you do get help?
  • If you’re not asking for help, how can you achieve the goals you have set for yourself or your organization?

How do you ask for help as a leader?

How you ask for help matters. If you have ever had a poor experience getting the right results when you have asked for help, you probably didn’t put the right effort into your request.

As they say, “you get out what you put in.” Ergo, if you provide a vague definition of what you need, the result you will receive is an interpretation of what others think you need.

  1. Invest a little time into defining your expectations. Describe the result you are expecting.
  2. Ask your team or expert to relay what they understood to check if you are on the same page.
  3. Consider adding a checkpoint to discuss first drafts or the initial direction to allow your team to course-correct before all the work is done.

3 – Way to Grow!

Self-Check: Do you need help?

  • What repeatable tasks could others do better or faster than you?
  • What projects can subject matter experts deliver better than you?
  • How can you provide value back to your support?

Additional Resources some sponsored:

Here’s to leading with great choices!

Leading Choices covers three parts in each edition: 
1    A key insight
2    A Choice
3    An Action or Resources

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