It's okay to ask for help
Theresa, document control manager for a large construction company in eastern Washington told Session 8 of the Leadership Development LAB:
"On the morning of Session 3 of our LDL, I identified and set a stretch goal. After committing to the goal of getting my paperwork caught up, I returned to my office and the reality of the large stack of paperwork on my desk. Just seeing that aging pile gave me a huge sense of overwhelm. I was completely deflated. I really couldn't see how I could possibly accomplish what I had committed to in seven weeks. I had been behind for several months and the work was coming at me faster as we have been growing at a faster rate. Some days I have felt like Lucille Ball and Ethel Mertz in the "I Love Lucy" episode where they are working the conveyor belt at the chocolate factory. Out of desperation, I called a team member into my office and explained that I had set a goal that I alone could not accomplish. I asked if she would accept the challenge with me even if it meant adding to her work, doing new tasks, some of which would seem mundane. She accepted the extra work with enthusiasm. Together we make a productive team. Over the past five weeks, we have worked hard and encouraged each other. As we began to see the pile slowly but surely go down, we would give each other little pep talks – 'We can do it' – 'Look at how far we have already come', etc. This kind of encouragement really does generate renewed hope and energy.
The three very important lessons I learned are: 1) I can't do it all; 2) There are some great, willing, qualified people around me who are perfectly willing to help if I just ask; 3) People who are given new
opportunities are energized. The action I call you to take is to utilize your assets, put together little project teams to solve problems. The benefit you will gain is a stronger team, and you will hit your goals and feel good about it".
One of the first signs of maturity and maybe sanity, and certainly reality, is admitting that we need help. After admitting to yourself that you need help, the next step is having the humility to actually ask for help. The more confident we are, the easier it is to ask for help. Some people ask for help without much thought, just as a matter of course, others have to work up to asking for help, and still others, out of false pride, ego, and fear of rejection, are never able to ask for help. Major breakthroughs, big improvements, the changes that matter, never happen until we ask for help. Maybe this is why Peter Drucker, the greatest management mind of the twentieth century, was such a proponent of volunteerism. Once you become involved in a volunteer organization and assume a leadership role, you will spend much of your time asking for the help of your volunteer team, and you will have nothing to offer them in return except your heartfelt gratitude. This is basic training for empowering leadership.