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How “asking for help” builds trust

Do you listen to Brene Brown’s podcast called Dare to Lead on Spotify? If not, I highly recommend it. She always provides fascinating research, interesting stories and challenges societal norms through her curiosity.

In the latest episode of the podcast, she spoke about fear being a main barrier to effective leadership. While I found the topic to be fascinating (and agree with its accuracy), it was a small almost unrelated statement that she made that really caught my attention.

Brene Brown was talking about research that she had done for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She surveyed thousands of their employees and asked them this question.

“What do your direct reports do that makes you TRUST them more?” 

While I thought this question was really interesting…it was the answer that really surprised me.

I thought the answer would be something like…keeping commitments…or getting results…or going the extra mile.

But it wasn’t!

The number one answer given by over 2000 leaders was ASKING FOR HELP!!

I literally stopped the podcast to think about this answer.

At first it seemed counter intuitive but as I reflected a little bit more it made so much sense.

Consider this…

What is the impact of people not asking for help?

Well, their results won’t be as good. Their deliverables will be less desirable. They might not even value or care enough about their work to ask for your assistance.

Let me ask you this…

If someone is unclear about the work you delegate, wouldn’t you want them to ask for help? I certainly would.

So, what’s the take-away for leaders?

Your goal is to create an environment for your team that:

  1. Encourages everyone to ask for help if they need it
  2. Rewards curiosity
  3. Makes collaboration a priority
  4. Encourages people to ask good questions rather than staying silent for fear of appearing foolish

So, the next time someone on your team asks you for help, look them in the eye (or across your screen!) and say, “Thanks for taking the time to ask for help. It means that you really care about the business and your contribution to the team.”

Now that’s good leadership!

Vanessa Judelman

Vanessa Judelman is an author, coach, and sought-after leadership expert. Over the past 20 years, she has created a proven formula to develop results-oriented leaders who feel empowered and confident in their job. Vanessa is the author of Mastering Leadership: What It Takes to Lead in Today’s Fast-Paced World.

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