3 Reasons Why People Have Trouble Asking For Help At Work

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Our collaboration platform, Quandora, enables organizations to make the best out of their present internal resources, by offering the space and means to capture, centralize and communicate their knowledge, in the most innate way possible: by asking questions.

So it all starts with a question. While for some this may come natural, there are people that don’t feel comfortable admitting they could use a colleague’s help. But why is it, what’s the drawback? I’ll list three of the most common reasons and I’m sure at least one will sound familiar to you. I know I used to resonate with some of these self-sabotage feelings or noticed it in my colleagues’ behavior, so I’d be happy to demystify it.

1. Feeling incompetent – this is one of the most common fears and the most ironic for that matter. Incompetence comes together with carelessness, the exact opposite of wanting to know, so it can never be a consequence of asking for a colleague’s assistance when you need it. Pretending to know something out of the fear of feeling needy or under qualified can only work as a disadvantage.

2. Losing control over your work – this is strongly related to the fear of not getting credit, of not being acknowledged. Keep in mind that you’re not asking for someone’s pity, but for their help in a specific matter. Calling on someone else’s expertise doesn’t magically undo your own achievements – they are contributing, not taking over.

3. Owing someone – if they help me now, what are they going to ask in return? In a successful knowledge sharing process, everyone can supply information at a given time. Collaboration asks for reciprocity, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that information trade has to be done between the same people. It’s a common effort to improve not only at a personal level, but also to build a healthy and beneficial working environment.

These fears are usually results of past experiences – if you found yourself in unfortunate situations in the past when asking for help, you fear doing it in the feature. Or if you spent to much time in highly competitive business environments, where asking for your colleague’s help is equal to letting your guard down.

But knowledge sharing has nothing to do with all these negative random circumstances. It’s never about feeling humiliated, weak or exposed. It’s about unity, about getting better at what you do and about facilitating the process of learning. And being comfortable asking questions will come out as the opposite of vulnerable. Confident people know their self worth and don’t need so much validation from the outside world.


Looking for a great way to ask questions and build knowledge with your co-workers? Quandora enables simple, efficient knowledge sharing with your team, way more fun than a mailing list or a forum. Try Quandora

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