When and How to Ask for Help at Work

by | 27.09.23

Asking for help in any situation isn’t easy but at work its easy to think that by asking for help you look like a failure. But sometimes after you have tried to find a solution to your problem and got nowhere you might have to swallow your pride and simply ask for support. Here are some tips on how and who to approach for help:

Problem – You don’t know what you are doing

If you have absolutely no idea what you’re supposed to be doing for a particular work project there is no use torturing yourself and trying to navigate something you simply don’t understand. Ask your boss for help, you may feel daft doing this but everyone has been in this situation at least once in their life.

Problem – You’ve tried doing something but are stuck

If you get stuck on something and after a few tries still can’t figure out how to do it, write down what you have tried and then ask a team member for help. Hopefully your teammate knows what to do and will advise you on what to do next.

Problem – You’re having problems with your computer

The best person to ask for advise on an IT issue is someone who is an expert in this area. Computers do go wrong so approach your boss and explain what’s happening, they will probably refer you to the organisations IT support specialist who will put you on the right road.

Problem – You have too much on your plate

It happens to the best of us. You keep enthusiastically saying ‘yes’ to every project available and now you are completely buried under work and need help. The only person to go to is your boss. You may feel like you’re shifting responsibility but it’s better to get help rather than just not get the job done.

Problem – You are not going to meet a deadline

You are supposed to get something done by the end of the day but you are struggling. The only way you can solve this problem is by asking your work mates to help you out. Your team members should provide support if you are in trouble and you should support them if the situation was reversed.

Problem – There is a new process and you don’t know it

You’ve been on holiday and on your return a new procedure has been implemented. Asking for help in this situation is normal, in fact your work buddies should offer to train you as soon as you return. Don’t try to muddle through in this situation definitely ask your colleagues for support.

Problem – You’ve made a mistake

You’re human, so mistakes are pretty much inevitable. But its not exactly about what you have done, its about how you react to it. The worse thing you can do is to try and hide your mistake. The person to confess to is your boss, only they can put it right. Fess up and I promise you the support you need to put something right will be provided.

Problem – You have an issue with a colleague

This is not a very nice situation but it is also a situation you don’t have to put up with. If a colleague is bullying you, undermining you or shoving their workload on you, it is not acceptable. Go to your boss and report what’s happening, a good Manager will sort it out for you. If its your boss that is the problem you need to go to HR, if you have no HR Department go to the Managing Director. If it’s the Managing Director then you’ll have to leave but you can take this type of treatment further i.e.: an industrial tribute if you feel strongly about it.

Problem – You need additional support

Even if you are an extreme control freak you know that your focus should be on turning out the best work possible, not just something that has your name on it. So if you are doing a piece of work that you think could greatly benefit from input from your work mates, never hesitate to ask them to lend you their advice or talents. You are a team after all.

Asking for help isn’t always easy. But sometimes it’s downright essential. If you find yourself in one of these scenarios take a deep breathe, swallow your pride and approach the right people who can provide you with some much needed support. I promise it’ll be better for you in the long run.

Angela Burton