Leadership Nuggets: Quick Observations, Tips and Findings for Busy Leaders Looking For Bite-sized Improvements In Today’s Leadership Nugget: Ever find yourself asking for help and people either not helping you or doing it begrudgingly and reluctantly? Perhaps you’re using these two phrases in your ask that we’ll cover today.
James Wang: Have you ever had a situation where somebody is asking you for help and for some reason you find yourself not really wanting to help them, or if you do help them, you’re doing it very reluctantly? It probably is because of the way they’re asking. As a leader, it’s critical to be able to feel comfortable asking people for help if you’re doing anything of value in this world.
Today in this Leadership Upgrade Leadership Nugget we’re going to be covering a possible set of questions that you might be using, or phrases that you’re using, that might be causing people to not want to help you out and how to avoid them. Let’s dive into it.
Announcer: Leadership Nugget.
James Wang: Alright, let’s dive into today’s Leadership Nugget. Here’s a quick observation: Oftentimes we can use phrases like, “That’s easy, right?” or, “That’s not gonna take you a lot of time, is it?” to demean what it is that we’re asking somebody to do for us when we don’t actually know if it is easy, or how much time it is going to take. Let’s backup and let’s talk about when we’re asking people for help, the position we are actually coming from. If our minds are really in that place, it makes it a lot easier to ask for help in a quality way.
If you’re asking somebody for help on something that you don’t have the skillset for … For example, I know Photoshop but I am not a graphic arts genius. If I’m asking somebody to help me out with a flyer, realistically I don’t know how much time it’s going to take, and I also don’t have the skills personally to put it together. At least not at the level of quality that someone else on my team who does possess those abilities is able to do.
Understanding that, approaching my ask, if I say, “Hey, I’ve got an event that we’re working on here and we need to put together a flyer. Can you put that together? That’s easy, right?” Saying that might really make somebody feel that you don’t value their effort. Especially if you don’t fully understand what effort is involved there.
That’s the last thing you want because you don’t want them to have that gut reaction of, “Oh, well if you think it’s easy, I’d love you to go ahead and try it, and find out how not easy it is.” Which is really counterproductive to everything, and would actually bring friction to your relationship, so that’s the last thing we want to do.
How can we flip that around? The real value of what it is that we’re doing as leaders, we’re offering opportunities for people to be able to work alongside us in a mission that we’re all trying to accomplish. If money is not involved in your ask, then what are you offering? You’re offering an opportunity for people to feel fulfilled, and that’s specifically in the action that they’re doing, that they’re chosen, that they matter. Avoiding the, “That’s easy,” and that, “I’m sure that’s gonna be real quick for you, right?”
If you are using something like that and you catch yourself, I would say that the thing to really think about is mentioning, “That’s easy for you, right?” because you don’t want somebody to feel like that you’re just throwing a job at them that you think anyone can do, if it’s not true. If it really is something anyone could do, then you’re just asking for a favor, and that’s fair.
I’m going to wrap todays Leadership Nugget with this: When you’re asking, be careful that how you’re phrasing the question doesn’t cause people to feel like they want to pull away because they feel undervalued and that their time isn’t respected.
In the reverse side of things, when you are asking, really emphasize that what you appreciate about them being able to help in a certain area and how you do recognize people’s skills and abilities, and why you are asking them specifically to do it. I know for me, when I’m being asked things, that’s something I really appreciate, and I think that’s something that we can all appreciate.
Announcer: Leadership Nugget.
James Wang: My name’s James Wang, thanks for joining us for this Leadership Nugget.
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