Stop Struggling Alone! Overcome the Fear of Asking for Help at Work

If you encounter challenges at work, what will you do? Should you seek assistance from the individuals around you, or should you stoically endure, even if resolution eludes you? Although our lives are intertwined with social engagement, and the readiness to both offer and accept assistance is a fundamental trait of human society, many individuals still struggle greatly with soliciting help from others.

Ai Ling holds a position as a mid-level manager within a company. She has recently encountered difficulties. The supervisor assigned her an additional task on top of her regular duties. Ai Ling hesitates to burden her colleagues, sensing that their workload is nearing capacity and additional tasks may overwhelm them. Yet, she is also reluctant to request the redistribution of tasks to other teams from the supervisor. Consequently, she finds herself compelled to sacrifice her leisure time and shoulder the burden alone. Due to insufficient manpower and stringent time constraints, the task is executed inadequately. Eventually, the supervisor must allocate the aftermath to other teams.

Independently managing tasks and endeavoring not to inconvenience others undeniably demonstrates commendable qualities in the professional sphere. However, human capabilities are inherently limited, and certain blind spots exist in our knowledge. When one finds oneself unable to navigate a challenge independently, seeking assistance from others emerges as the optimal course of action. Conversely, if one shies away from seeking help and the issue remains unresolved, it may adversely affect one’s personal professional standing and advancement.

What causes some individuals to hesitate in seeking assistance from others? Zhang Xiaoyu, the founder and CEO of Beijing Rushu Technology Co., Ltd., once articulated in a speech the reasons underlying her reluctance to seek help: Firstly, she fears inconveniencing others; secondly, it entails dependency on others, thereby rendering oneself vulnerable to exploitation; thirdly, such behavior may project an image of inadequacy or inferiority to the outside world.

I believe this sentiment resonates with many working professionals who feel embarrassed about soliciting help from others. They fear inconveniencing others, worry about being perceived as weak and overly reliant, dread potential repercussions, and are even apprehensive of rejection. These psychological barriers all stem from self-perception, as Zhang Xiaoyu aptly observed, “How do you perceive yourself?” Overly esteeming one’s own autonomy may render one powerless when seeking assistance.

Soliciting help from colleagues in the workplace is commonplace and constitutes a valuable skill. Follow these guidelines to enhance your ability to solicit assistance from others:

Firstly, adjust your mindset. It is imperative to acknowledge that seeking help from others does not signify incompetence. On the contrary, it reflects astuteness, as it facilitates prompt problem resolution and prevents squandering of time and energy. Thus, we must recalibrate our mindset and recognize that seeking help is a normative behavior, rather than a display of weakness.

Secondly, ascertain your needs. What specific areas necessitate assistance? Whether it pertains to a particular task or a broader project, clearly delineating your requirements enables effective communication of your needs to others.

Thirdly, identify the appropriate individual. Once you have pinpointed the areas requiring assistance, endeavor to identify individuals best suited to aid you. This may entail colleagues, superiors, or individuals beyond your immediate professional circle.

Fourthly, articulate your request. Prior to soliciting assistance, prepare a clear and concise expression of your requirements. This entails elucidating the nature of assistance required, specifying the rationale behind the request, and delineating the desired form of assistance. Simultaneously, extend due respect and appreciation, while discerning the availability and willingness of the other party to offer assistance.

Fifthly, embrace feedback. When seeking assistance, be receptive to feedback or suggestions provided by others. Even if the feedback is unwelcome, maintain an open-minded approach.

Lastly, express gratitude. Irrespective of the outcome, express gratitude to those who extend their assistance. Not only is this courteous, but it also fosters positive workplace relationships.

Admittedly, some individuals harbor an aversion to extensive interpersonal interactions. If you find yourself unable to overcome psychological barriers, there is no compulsion to force yourself to seek assistance from others. Instead, consider alternative avenues, such as consulting professionals, attending training sessions, or perusing relevant literature, to identify a solution tailored to your needs.

Do not hesitate to seek assistance, as others are unlikely to perceive your request as burdensome. In the professional realm, aiding others fosters collaborative relationships conducive to achieving shared objectives. Therefore, have faith in your own worth and capabilities, summon the courage to seek assistance, and embark on the journey of collaboration.

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