Monday, August 19, 2019

How to Ask for Help when You’re a Manager

I understand that it is sometimes hard to seek help in a Manager role for fear that you will lose credibility. As in all requests for support or assistance, being intentional is of the utmost importance. Here are four basic ways to demonstrate that intentionality.

Get over any hidden assumptions about you needing “permission” to ask for help. You may ask any question you choose – just be prepared for any answer you get!

  1. Identify what outcomeyou’re seeking. It’s often the most critical step but, in the rush to complete the tactic (or task), it’s the one most frequently ignored.
  2. Remember to plan yourcommunication– how you will approach the person or persons whose support you require? This is where Emotional Intelligence (EQ) comes into play. You have to know enough about your own emotional capacities, and how to manage them effectively, if you want to influence and/or persuade others to do what you want or need them to do.
  3. Know your deal breakersand to what degree, if any, you’re willing to negotiate.

Some specific work situations to anticipate.

When it’s intimidating to ask an upline manager for support, for fear of being perceived as unable to handle their workload.

Here are a few options to consider before approaching them:

  • Identify how your request connects to a tangible business goal or performance outcome.
  • If they’re someone who’s committed to your growth and development, let them know how your request will contribute to that.
  • Show appropriate vulnerability. There’s not much point in pretending you can handle something you can’t. And a majority of leaders will likely admire you for it.

When managers shy away from asking direct reports for help, for fear that their plates are already too full. This hidden assumption can get in the way, leading you to take on too much yourself.

Here are a few options to consider before approaching them:

  • Be direct in askingwhether they can assume any more tasks or projects. Seek specifics as to why they can/can’t.
  • If not, engage in a simple negotiation. What deadlines on current projects can be pushed back? Are there any projects that temporarily (or even permanently) can be shelved? Can some tasks be redistributed to free up some time?
  • Remember that often employees are eager to help, if asked. They see it as an opportunity to grow and stretch and gain exposure to other parts of the organization. Some may simply want to help you out when they see how overworked and stressed you are!

Posted by Barbara Rapaport at 11:33 PM

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