When is the right time to ask for help?

In the late 1990s a book entitled ‘Why men don’t listen, and women can’t read maps’ highlighted the differences between the genders.

While those differences may well persist, those specific challenges are no longer relevant since we live in a smartphone Siri/Alexa/Satnav age in which computers can answer our questions.

Technology has been a blessing for those too squeamish to ask for help, yet computers should not be considered superior to humans as the main source of support in a crisis.

A critical life skill

As we have explored in earlier articles on Skilled Living, achieving success and happiness in life relies on individuals building a set of skills. One of the most important of those is knowing when to ask for help.

Let’s use illness as an example. When one feels unwell with ‘flu-like symptoms, one should know to go to the GP. A doctor will be able to make a judgement call on whether those symptoms are typical of just a cold, whether they really are ‘flu, or if they might point to something more serious.

In the latter case, the GP can make a referral for tests and the patient can receive care from more specialist consultants.

The individual who asked for help quickly, and of the right person, will most likely get their illness dealt with quickly and effectively. In cases where the problem is left to linger, the individual may find it takes longer to get over or – in the worst case – it may turn into something much more disabling.

There is no reason why asking for help should be any different in other walks of life than it is when dealing with a personal illness.

Professional help

Individuals who can ask for help at the right time are more equipped to tackle life successfully than those who ask too often or not enough.

As an adult one can no longer exhibit the same dependencies one had as a child. Yet there are clear disadvantages to being too independent and refusing to rely on others. One needs to strike the right balance and ultimately achieve interdependence.

In business, asking for support at the opportune times is critical to success. Business leaders should be able to recognise that all is not well in their organisation and ask for help quickly.

This requires an ability to be self-critical and to accept that things may be going wrong. While it may be uncomfortable, the more quickly management acknowledges there is a problem, the easier it is to find a successful solution.

Business leaders also need to build a network of appropriate experts who can diagnose the root cause of the problem and work to find a cure. There are myriad challenges facing businesses today and the solutions for one organisation may be inappropriate for another. Having a network of experts with different specialisms and skillsets is invaluable to ensuring the business can respond to any number of challenges.

At SBC we work with businesses to help identify and resolve a wide range of issues and problems. If you think your organisation could benefit from an impartial, expert review, please contact us for an hour’s free consultation.

Key points: when to ask for help

  • Asking for help is not a weakness, but a strength
  • The sooner help is sought the more likely a successful solution will be found
  • Build a network of experts to help with a variety of business challenges

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