The Best Leaders Aren’t Afraid to Ask for Help

Most leaders think of themselves as strong. They are typically resourceful, hard-working problem-solvers with grit and determination. People rely on the them and they’re able to shoulder that responsibility well. There can be a sort of “super hero” mentality that develops within a leader that cultivates the unrealistic expectation that the leader is supposed to know everything.  

I recently took an informal poll on social media, asking participants to indicate the hardest thing to say from this list:

Of course, Worcestershire sauce was thrown in for fun. But it tied with “I need help” for the win.

It can be a huge misconception that leaders who ask for help are showing weakness. Quite the opposite is true. Strategic leaders understand why they should ask for help and are aware of the best way to do it.

Let’s start with why asking for help is smart. The first reason a leader should ask for help is that it creates connectedness in your team. If you appear to be invincible and hold yourself to a standard of perfection that sets you above others, this can hurt your team in several ways. One thing is that others are intimidated by you rather than drawn to you. Authenticity, not perfection, is the glue that cements a team together. It requires humility to ask for help. Humility is a trait in the “great eight of effective leaders”.

Second, it enables others to develop their skills and let their light shine when you ask them to help you. It also helps them feel needed, and therefore appreciated. Think about this: how does it make you feel when you repeatedly offer to help someone out of a sincere desire to support them, yet you are repeatedly shunned? Not good, right?

Third, it models a culture of collaboration and builds the team when you include others in the execution of important tasks.

Lastly, it’s exhausting to try to do everything yourself. We are not designed to do business alone. We are certainly not designed to do life alone. When you let people in by asking for help, you open yourself to a whole new level of possibilities.

In the words of Isaac Newton, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Giants come in all forms and fashion. Open your eyes and recognize they might be the help you need.

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