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How to Ask for Help at Work and Get it: 23 Secrets


It can be hard to ask for help, even for minor difficulties. When you ask for help it feels like an admission that you are imperfect, which in turn can lead to feelings of inadequacy and weakness. Most of the time, workplace obstacles cannot be tackled all alone; you simply do not have all the possible time to learn to perform everything at once. The act of asking for help and openly getting it is the hardest part; however it helps in making you a better human being and an efficient person at work. Let’s get some insight into the ways to ask for help at work.

ask for help at workOverloaded at Work? How to Ask for Help at Work?

1. Try hard before asking:

Before asking for or planning to ask for help, you must try yourself to carry out the difficult piece of work. Look for all the possible ways to overcome the obstacle. You should make sure you have tried all options before someone else trying and succeeding on it, making it look simple.

2. Do not beat yourself up:

Trying hard doesn’t imply that you need to beat yourself up to resolve something. Being in torment for hours and hours perhaps past the working hours without admitting that you need help can make you look inefficient. You need to acknowledge that you need help at a point where you start feeling tormented.

3. Discover what precisely you need help with:

After you have accepted that you need help, locate what is really the problem that you can’t resolve. It will make the problem easier to be communicated. You need to identify the level where you feel the most frustrated, that is the problem in a work to be asking help for.

4. Identify who will be able to help:

Although you may find your colleagues or supervisors ready to help you, you need to select a person who is well qualified to provide you the help you are looking for. Perhaps your colleague is a professional who can very well assist you with the trouble, or only the supervisor’s proficiency knows the best solution.

5. Exercise an optimistic self image:

Your priority is to complete the work at hand and thus you need to put aside your pride and try to fix the obstacle in completion of a work by taking help. Never feel embarrassed to ask for help. It is better than failing in the work or crossing your deadline.

6. Trust your coworkers:

Sometimes it is better to approach a coworker than a boss, thus you will need to trust your coworker. People will be either happy to help or too embarrassed to say no, so you will be surely helped with a problem. In an organization, there are people with different skill sets and may be the work you are dealing with needs a different skill to be completed that can be found in your coworker.

7. Always help others:

In return to their help to you, you must also look for opportunities to help your coworkers. You can either start by helping people from the beginning itself so that you receive help when needed. This will help you feel less embarrassed to ask for assistance.

8. Say that it is a give and take relationship:

While you are asking for help incorporate that it is a give and take relationship and you are happy to help when the person will be in need of it. The person feels secure that you will be there to assist when they need and they are not helping you for just nothing. No matter if it is a boss or colleague when you say you will be happy to help back, it helps in bonding more with the workplace public.

9. Practice best conduct:

Recall the times when you are strong and confident and behave in the same manner while asking for help. Do not show by gestures or by words that you are anxious and frustrated with the problem. You shouldn’t indicate anyone that you cannot cope with the work.

10. Focus on facts:

Be certain on the facts of how long you will need the help and what is the kind of assistance you need. If you think that the problem that has arisen is short term, state when help will no longer be required. If it is an ongoing situation you may want to reassess.

11. Remain in control:

You need to display the fact that you want to be responsible for the work you are taking help for. You need to demonstrate that you are confident and strong and are taking help for the benefit of the overall workplace outcome.

12. Explain the importance of the work:

The person you are asking help from must know the importance and significance of the work. People won’t show seriousness to a particular work unless it is near a deadline or a big project.

13. Frame questions smartly:

You need to construct question that will show that you are being humble and complimenting the person you are asking for help. Give them some compliments on their expertise and skills and demonstrate that you need their suggestions. People actually feel valued when you ask for their help and shows that you give importance to their views and judgments.

14. Write down your questions:

Perhaps out of anxiousness or embarrassment you may use terms that are vague and ambiguous. Thus write down exactly what your question will be when asking for help and check if it clearly states your problem.

15. Ask whether the person has time:

Perhaps the person you are asking help for is stuck in his or her own work and swamped with resolving things. Thus before expecting action, ask whether they have enough time for your work or it will all the more complicate your work.

16. Approach a busy person:

You may fear to ask a person who you know would be busy most of the time, however if you want your work to be done properly, ask a busy person. Such individuals giving high output are success oriented and they are fond of getting things done.

17. Arrange follow ups:

Let the person helping you know that you may require further help and thus arrange follow up meets along with them. Make the whole process look like a learning experience rather just getting done things from the person helping you. Let the person know about your progress on the task and appreciate their help.

18. Become easy to be helped:

When you are helped, be receptive to feedbacks and learning; allow the person who is helping to utilize their unique techniques distinct from you and persistently show gratitude and respect for what they are doing for you.

19. Let the helper know the status of the work:

Most of the people avoid asking for help, thinking they will appear as incompetent. However when you ask a person for help give them some insights about what you have done till now in a task and what are you planning to do further. The person understands your direction and knows you are competent enough to handle the work but just need some help in something that is difficult to resolve even for your competence.

20. Ask how much can one help:

Perhaps the problem you are trying to solve or the work you are trying to get completed has different levels, needing different levels of expertise. Thus perhaps a single person can help you with all the stages or some stages. Thus ask the person how much part of the work he can help in.

21. Help the person by asking to do a little:

Perhaps if your problem is a large one then the person who is ready to help you might feel like backing out. But if you introduce only a part of the problem from time to time after resolving each part, it will make the person’s work easy.

22. Ask the amount of time:

Ask whether how much time the person will require to resolve or complete the task. You can show urgency for completion of the work but do not appear as if handing the overall work or forcing the person to complete things immediately. When a person is helping you, let them take their time so the work gets completed appropriately.

23. Express gratitude:

Say thanks to your helper through formal means or informal depending on the person’s designation compared to you. This is not just polite gesture, but helps in building strong and long lasting workplace relationships and supportive friendships.

Remember that two heads in a work causes the work to become easier, so there is no pressure on you to complete task all by yourself. Never assume that you know what people think and they will answer negatively to your request for help. People are very generous, especially in the workplace environment where each other’s work is important for the overall output of the organization. Thus if you ask for help utilizing the above ways you are surely going to receive help from others and never regret getting it.