At some point in people’s careers, the word “help” can become a bad word. There is an idea that asking for help is a a sign of weakness and failure, especially when the individual is in a leadership role. But what many in this position forget is that there is value in admitting that “I need help!”. It’s better than hiding at your desk, not contributing and hindering the team’s functionality. Asking for help is a delicate matter, but when it’s done right, it’ll get the job done faster or better. You can help your team help you with these tips for asking for assistance at work:


Try Before You Ask

The first step to asking for help is to make sure that you actually need it. Explore all of the possible solutions, even ones that seem super obvious. It only takes one time for someone to ask you “Why didn’t you try XYZ?” to realize that is pays off to check all the solutions first. 9 out of 10 times, a quick online search brings up enough how-to articles and videos to answer your question. If not, then it’s time to reach out to your team members.

Be Precise

Before taking your question to your team members, make sure you know what you are specifically asking for. If you bring a broad or vague question to your team, it may appear that you’re dumping an entire project at their feet. If there are multiple steps in your project, ask for assistance with that one item and not the whole thing. Once you’re specific question has been answered, be prepared to take the project back over immediately.

Come With Solutions

When you reach the point of asking for help, be ready. You don’t just go to a team member to surrender. The best thing you can do is go ready with potential solutions or solid questions, not just a blank look on your face. This shows that you have explored the issue first and that you’re not just asking for a handout. Plus, this keeps things moving by quickly going through your list of potential solutions instead of having to start from scratch.

Take Notes

The best thing that you can do when you ask for help is to take notes on what you learned. By golly you do not want to go back to ask them the same question again. Taking notes is a sign that you respect your team member’s time and effort which they provided you by answering your question. Unless you have been blessed with a photographic memory, you better be taking notes.


With these approaches, you can establish collaborative learning sessions with other team members all while improving your knowledge and efficiency. How do you ask for help at work? Share your tactics in the comments below.


By: Rebecca Clausen