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The Right Way to Ask for Help at Work

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https://hbr.org/2018/05/how-to-get-the-help-you-need

hbr.org

The Right Way to Ask for Help at Work
Few of us enjoy asking for help. As research in neuroscience and psychology shows, the social threats involved-the uncertainty, risk of rejection, potential for diminished status, and inherent relinquishing of autonomy-activate the same brain regions that physical pain does.

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What Not To Do When Asking For Help

What Not To Do When Asking For Help
  • Instruct people.
  • Tell or imply that they should help our debt they don’t have a choice about it.
  • Using unnecessary prefaces makes people feel trapped.
  • Profusely apologi...

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Reinforce A Request For Help

  • In-group: Assuring that you’re on the helper’s team and the team’s importance taps into our need to belong to and perpetuate supportive social circles. 
  • Positive identit...

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Research Results On Helpfulness

  • Studies indicate that people are willing to help more often than we expect.
  • Studies suggest that we underestimate how much effort those who do agree to help will put in.

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The anxiety of asking for help

The anxiety of asking for help

... 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 ca...

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

"You're going to love helping me!"

"You're going to love helping me!"

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.

A small favor

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.

Scorekeeping

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.

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Tips To Better Ask For Help

Tips To Better Ask For Help
  1. Demonstrate that you've tried to help yourself. Briefly explain what you've tried independently so they know you've tried to solve your problem for yourself before.
  2. Demonstra...

Reinforcing People’s Helpfulness

Reinforcing People’s Helpfulness
  • Strong sense of in-group: the belief that the person in need is on your team makes us more helpful to them as we care about what happens to the in-group. 
  • Opportunity to...

2 types of gratitude expression

  • Other-praising: involves acknowledging and validating the character or abilities of the giver;
  • Self-benefit: which describes how the receiver is better off for having been given help. 

The former makes people feel better with themselves and that you are more grateful when compared to the latter.

Reminding People That They Owe You One

If you have to remind someone that they owe you one, chances are they don’t feel as if they do. Reminding them that they owe you a favor both makes the other person feel as if you’re trying to control them and it makes the other person feel as if you’re keeping a scorecard, and that’s fundamentally bad for relationships.

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