I was recently driving through town and observed something that made me think. On the side of the road a man was preparing to start his teenage daughter’s car with a jump box. He stood out in the cold and became visibly frustrated when he struggled to open the hood of the car. I decided to pull over to see if I could help. When I did, his daughter hopped out of the car, quickly opened the hood, and jumped back in the car. The jump box worked and he was on his way to get a new battery.
This situation made me think, how often am I guilty of not asking for help when I need it? How long will I keep trying something before I finally have to raise the question? There is a healthy balance of digging in and figuring things out for yourself. However, when we have others “in the car” with us, at what point should we ask? The answer I came up with: it depends. How critical is the task? How time-sensitive is it? Are others waiting on me because of it? What’s the impact?
I must admit, too often I’m on the end of not asking for help soon enough and that has an impact to people or projects. As leaders, it’s our job to be vulnerable and ask for help or admit when we don’t know something. This builds trust inside a team. You never know who might get you out of the cold quickly.
How do you know when it’s time to ask for help?
Andrew Roelfs, Interstates Human Resources