By Caroline Smith and the Mind Tools Team
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Asking for Help

Getting Help Without Looking Weak

Asking for Help

© iStockphoto
Vladimirovic

We all need help from time to time.

If you're struggling with your workload or with a particular task, it can be difficult to ask your boss or your colleagues for help.

If you admit that you can't handle everything, will they think that you're not capable? After all, you should be able to do your work on your own, right?

You might also be worried about your work "competitors" – other people who may want the same promotions or projects that you do. If they find out that you're struggling, will they take advantage of your weakness? You certainly don't want to look vulnerable in front of them.

Asking for help makes many of us uncomfortable – especially if we're in a management role. But it's critical to learn how to ask for help when you need it, especially when risks are involved. After all, would you rather get the help you need, or jeopardize your prospects by missing key deadlines, or producing poor-quality work?

What's more, many bosses operate a "no surprises" rule – they'd much rather be alerted to a problem early on than be surprised by (and perhaps embarrassed by) a missed deadline. Respect this.

In this article, we'll look at how and when to ask for help at work, and how to do it right....

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