How To Ask For Help At Work



Dec. 2 2021, Published 8:59 a.m. ET

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One of the hardest things to do in the workplace is ask for help if you’re not used to asking for it. To stand up and tell your boss that you don’t understand something isn’t the easiest because you can often feel like you’re expected to know more and do more. You might be embarrassed to ask for help, or you might have been made to feel that you shouldn’t. The thing is, you’re not going to know all of the things in the workplace, and asking for help is a must if you hope to be able to do your job properly.

There are always going to be questions that you need answers to, and it’s going to take a careful approach to get this right. You need to know who can help you, how you can ask for help from them and what to do next. There are right and wrong ways to ask for help, though, and you have to see whether you can ask for things like workplace training to make sure that you fully understand your role. Instead of hiding away and allowing it to get on top of you, you have to step forward and take a deep breath! So, considering all of this, what could you do to ask for help from your employer?

1. Speak up and ask. Sometimes, you have to be brave when it comes to what you need. Your employer isn’t just someone you work for; they’re there to help your professional development. If you are struggling, you need to speak up. What’s the worst that could happen? You need some help and there’s nothing wrong with that. The people around you at work are there to work with you and they will help you to get where you need to be at work. Don’t leave hints; be bold and ask for the help that you need.

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2. Be explicit. What is it that you need help with? Do you need extra training or extra guidance? Ask for that. Sometimes the agenda can be crystal clear but it doesn’t mean that you will necessarily get it in an instant. So, be specific when you’re asking for help. Talk about the pieces of the puzzle in which you’re struggling.

3. Don’t trivialise your understanding. Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean that you have to be apologetic for it. You need to feel as if you’re getting somewhere with your working life and that means that you have to be confident in your asking for help. Tell people you need help and don’t let anyone tell you that you did the wrong thing or that you’re stupid. You’re not. You deserve to grow and learn.

4. Share what you know. Once you understand something, be the person that distributes that knowledge elsewhere. For all of those who will come behind you and ask the same questions, accept those questions and answer them in the same way you would have needed to be helped, too.


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