We all know that achievement comes through collaboration, not isolation. However, it’s not always clear when we should ask for help.
This topic appeared on ProfHacker.com, where Julie Meloni wrote:
I know some people see asking questions as a sign of weakness or insecurity (and believe others will view them that way), and that asking questions can produce answers we don’t want to hear. Both of those possible results pale in comparison to the potential good that just sitting down and asking questions can produce.
And sometimes you just have to get over it and flat out ask someone else for help. I did that, and it was one of the greatest productivity tools I’ve ever encountered.
The best way to increase productivity is to better understand what you are doing. Therefore, asking questions is never a weakness, but instead demonstrates a commitment to improvement. If we reach out to those who might be able to help, we show them that we are more interested in doing good work than looking like we have all the answers.
On the other hand, productivity requires the judicious application of time. When we ask others for help, we are asking them to sacrifice their personal productivity. How many times have you been in the middle of a project at home, work or school, when someone interrupts you with a request? No matter how gracious you are, we all know that stopping to help someone else causes us to lose our train of thought and ultimately delays overall progress.
The best way to ask for help to improve your own productivity is to be as respectful as possible of the person you are soliciting. Avoid going to their desk or picking up the phone; instead send them an email. Avoid making a general statement of frustration; tell what you’ve already tried so that they can help you efficiently.
We all appreciate the chance to help someone, and we all appreciate it when our friends and colleagues show us that they respect our time. Ask for help to improve your productivity, but be conscious about the impact it has on the other person’s productivity. Your thoughtfulness will be rewarded.