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Here are some interesting tips and perspectives to help guide you through the next time you find yourself in that awkward situation of someone offering help that you really don’t want.
BEFORE YOU SAY “NO” CHECK YOUR ASSUMPTIONS.
- If you’re tempted to say, “no”, ask yourself why. Why is it that you don’t want that person’s help? There are some really good reasons why help isn’t always feasible, one of the most important ones being a state of emergency. In such times, you don’t have time to show another person what to do and how to do it. Time is critical, lives may depend on it, or perhaps it’s a high-risk project with zero room for error. However, before you discount this offer of help, look at your underlying assumption–are you assuming this person doesn’t know how to perform the task? Maybe he does. Maybe she’s an expert. Before you say no, ask. Otherwise, you may be denying yourself and others any assistance that could make the difference between success and failure.
ARE YOU SAYING NO BECAUSE YOU DON’T WANT TO GIVE UP THE FUN STUFF?
- You may be hanging on to tasks that others are quite willing to do simply because you enjoy doing them. But is that the best use of your time? There’s an opportunity cost when you do that. When you spend time on items other people could be doing, you’re stealing time and energy from tasks you are uniquely qualified to complete. In fact, in the workplace, you may be holding tight to projects and duties that really are someone else’s and fall beyond your scope of duties. Stick to what you’re paid to do and the items that you can’t delegate.
CONSIDER THE OTHER PERSON’S LEARNING OPPORTUNITY.
- Before you say “no”, ask yourself if you’re robbing someone else from learning what you already know. That other person may be hungry to sink her teeth into that task. It may help him broaden his life skill set or career possibilities. It could help you learn the fine art of letting go. Even though it may take some effort at the beginning, once the learning curve is overcome, your workload is lessened and the helper has newly found responsibility, skill, and confidence. This approach helps build teams and contributes to succession planning.
THINK ABOUT WHY THEY’RE OFFERING TO HELP.
- Human beings are social animals. Most of us want to belong, feel competent in carrying out our duties, and contribute to the team. When someone offers to help you, it may be that this person needs to know his contribution is valued and appreciated. She wants to know that her pitching in makes a difference. Let them. This builds teamwork and a sense of mutual support. It contributes to employee engagement and morale. And it lightens your load.
Time has changed my perspective
Now, at this side of life, I look back at those days with a different perspective. I prepare family dinners and take great joy in running errands, buying surprises, and dropping off baked goods I know will help my full-time-working niece and her young family. I see her as having very little time and it makes me feel good to know that my efforts are helping simplify her busy life. And then it hits me–this is the feeling my mom wanted. She wanted to help, to know she made a difference. It was her way of contributing and I robbed that from her. Instead of feeling that her time was well-spent, I gave her what I thought was a vacation, when in reality, I had sentenced her to feel useless.
When someone offers help, let them.
I will never do that again. When someone offers me help, I figure out a way to let them. It helps them, it helps me, and it builds trust. Will you do the same?
PS: please feel free to share with your colleagues, boss, and clients and invite them to opt-in at marionspeaks.com to receive their own enews emails. Everyone needs communication tips at some point.
Marion Grobb Finkelstein, Workplace Communication Consultant, travels across Canada to help business people and organizations communicate in the workplace to get better, faster, easier results. She can help you too. Marion@MarionSpeaks.com 289-969-7691 www.MarionSpeaks.com OPT-IN to Marion’s Workplace Communication Tips enews at www.marionspeaks.com