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Does asking for help come across as a negative at work?

Does asking for help come across as a negative at work?

Author: Moe Harrison /Tuesday, September 24, 2019/Categories: SNI Companies, SNI Financial, SNI Certes, SNI Technology, Accounting Now, Staffing Now

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Asking your manager or others for help at work may seem like a decision that could make you look less competent, but like most things in life, it comes down to balance. While you don’t want to be constantly asking for help, you also don’t want to struggle to meet deadlines or waste valuable time trying to figure something more advanced/complex out that your manager already has the answer to. In today’s blog we look at the right approach to asking for help at work - not only when you should but also how to go about it. We also look at the importance of setting proper expectations right off the bat so you and your boss are on the same page about what your job entails and what skills you are bringing and what you will need development with.

Some people associate asking for help at work with being a failure. While it’s important to try and resolve issues by yourself and to show you can work thru problem solving, learning to identify when and how to ask for help is important. Once you’ve reached your wits’ end trying to figure something out and decide that the next best step is to go to your manager for help, it’s important to have your notes and thoughts gathered. Explain to your manager what you’ve tried to do in solving the issue to show that you aren’t coming to them at the first sign of being challenged. Managers appreciate employees who bring possible solutions to problems if they ultimately decide an alternative solution is best. They’ll appreciate that you put the forethought into the conversation and your ideas may help spark other ideas for them so you can both resolve the issue quickly and efficiently.

Another factor is the importance of setting proper expectations right off the bat to make sure you and your manager on the same page about what the job entails. The best way to do that is by asking questions during the job interview process. Some questions may include:

  1. Ask other employees in the interview process what the management style is.  Do they prefer collaboration in tackling complex issues or does everyone tend to keep to themselves in solving their own problems/challenges.

  2. What type of training and onboarding do they provide for new hires

  3. Are there ongoing training/development programs in place

Be honest with yourself. If you are new to the industry you may require more direction and support at first while you learn the ropes.  If that’s the case, you will want to communicate that with the hiring manager to make sure they have the structure in place to provide you with the best support. While it’s important to sell yourself during the job interview it’s equally as important to not over promise and then under deliver. Be forthcoming about how much you know so you don’t set yourself up for failure later on.

We hope these tips and suggestions were helpful. We are all human and especially as you’re learning a new role it’s normal to have questions. The key is to try and figure things out yourself before running to you manager for help but if you’ve exhausted a few routes and still need help then hopefully you are aware of your manager’s willingness to help you learn and grow.

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Moe Harrison
Moe Harrison

Moe Harrison

Moe Harrison is a Regional Vice President with SNI. With more than 15 years’ experience in recruiting and personnel management, Moe has a unique perspective on the top issues and concerns of employers and candidates in the accounting and finance fields.

Other posts by Moe Harrison
Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Moe Harrison is a Regional Vice President with SNI. With more than 15 years’ experience in recruiting and personnel management, Moe has a unique perspective on the top issues and concerns of employers and candidates in the accounting and finance fields.

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