There are many reasons why people dread asking for help from colleagues and peers, a few of them being the fear of looking bad, being rejected, imposing on others or even wasting valuable resources. But this ends up making you stuck for way longer than required, creating a culture that’s counterproductive during challenging times.
With a global pandemic and many of us juggling work and home all at once, we all need flexibility and support like never before. But asking for help requires breaking several misconceptions that come with the concept.
Here are three myths that stop people from asking help at work and why you should overlook them.
1. Asking for help makes you look bad
Asking for help is often seen as a sign of incompetence or weakness. Plus, when in a crisis, stirring up trouble can seem like something you’d want to avoid. However, research finds that asking for help has no negative impact on perceived competence. More so, asking for help with a difficult task results in higher perceived competence. So, while asking for help may seem to reveal your vulnerabilities and limitations, there’s no reason to fear people’s judgement of us for revealing our imperfections, they’re less likely to judge us anyway.
2. If you ask for help, you’ll be rejected
Another reason why asking for help seems like a daunting task is a fear of hearing “no”. We assume others have a lot going on already and may not be able to help us out. But instead, research shows that people are more willing to help that we assume them to be. Not only people are more likely to say yes than we think, but they also genuinely put effort and time in helping those who require help.
3. Even if someone agrees to help, they won’t enjoy it
Whenever asking for help, we always focus on the costs we are imposing on them, the effort we’re asking, the inconvenience we’re causing. We focus so much on the negative impacts while research shows that when helping a colleague, one gets a “warm glow” that comes from doing someone a favour. Helping someone in need can bring one our of a negative emotional state, making it a mood-lifting task for both. Asking for help also acts as a way to develop a social connection with your peers. Research proves that the emotional benefits of helping others are higher when there’s a social connection between the people.
And if you’re ever faced with a no, don’t see it as a negative remark about yourself. If you ask at another time, or as someone else, you’ll eventually get a response that pleases you.