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... activates the same brain regions that physical pain does. And in the workplace, where we’re typically keen to demonstrate as much expertise, competence, and confidence as possible, it can feel particularly uncomfortable to make such requests.
The key to a successful request for help is to shift the focus to the benefits of helping. You want people to feel that they would be helping because they want to, not because they must, and that they’re in control of the decision.
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Don't try and convince someone how much they will enjoy helping you. It reeks of control and is presumptive. It drains their joy out of helping.
How they feel is for them to decide.
One common tactic is to portray the help we need as so small, that it is barely a favor. "Would you add these updates to the database? It won’t take you more than five minutes.”
It is conveying that you think the work the other person does is easy, quick, trivial and not very taxing. That’s not a great way to enlist help. You might also underestimate the size of the favor. Do not presume it won’t take them very long the next time you ask them for help.
While reciprocity does make people more likely to comply with the request, it also makes us feel controlled, which takes all the fun out of it.
Reminding someone that they owe you a favor does not create good feelings. Scorekeeping is fundamentally bad for relationships.
"Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do, and they will surprise you with their ingenuity."
Successful managers don’t preempt every obstacle a team member encounters but watch and listen, looking for the right time to pitch in. If someone is already stuck in the challenge, first-hand, they are engaged enough to take the advice in a positive manner.
Lending the hand at the right time makes the employee use the instructions in a better way, as if the same thing was said in the beginning, it would not have registered with them at all.