It can be hard to ask for help, especially when the stakes are high or when you are supposed to be the leader. Almost as hard as asking for help in finding the small lump in a polyurethane testicle.
Why is that important for business?
Asking for help can be really hard – admitting that you don’t know something, especially if you want to be considered an expert, is a vulnerable thing. The higher the stakes get, the bigger it feels to admit you don’t know and the stronger the impulse to keep hobbling along as if you do. When your ego is involved – when you start reading your own press releases – it can be harder to admit you don’t know something that feels basic.
There are many different sizes and shapes of baggage can cause people to choose pride over the truth of not knowing. Whatever the particular baggage, it can be a deterrent to good leadership. Becoming comfortable with “I don’t know” is a much-overlooked leadership skill. As important as it is to be skilled and informed, it is dangerous if it feels like leadership equals always knowing.
Beyond the leadership level of a company, it is an even better sign if everyone who doesn’t have their name on the door feels free to ask for help. Establishing that culture is the job of the leader.
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