Asking Your Team ‘How Can I Help?’ Improves Business Performance in These 5 Ways
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As most business leaders know, teamwork is essential to the bottom line and should not be underestimated. Collaboration is key to better performance and improved outcomes. Leaders often show a willingness to help others. However, the most effective leaders also know that being willing to help others is not enough. They must make sure that their colleagues feel comfortable asking for help by being open and welcoming.
This is why I started asking my ,team “How do I help?” What appeared to be a simple question has had a material and positive impact on both the company culture as well as its performance. Here are some of its results:
1. Team Members Feel Supported
How many times have you heard leadership insist that “My door is always open?” This is a common phrase that conveys a willingness and ability to help when it’s needed. Although this statement is often uttered with positive intentions, it doesn’t encourage colleagues to reach out for help.
Instead, be more direct in your approach by asking how you can help. Ask the question in one-on-one meetings or when you are checking on progress on a project. It will reassure staff members that they are supported and make them feel comfortable discussing their needs. This leads to happier employees and an increase in overall morale.
2. Instills a sense of value
Asking “How may I help?” The question not only benefits the person asking it, but also leaders who often face responsibilities that can cause them to feel disconnected from their teams and their daily work. This approach helps you to remember the value you add to your company.
It’s incredibly rewarding for me to hear from colleagues how I can help them and ensure their success. These conversations are a great way to strengthen my relationships with colleagues, and give me reassurance that I am a valuable contributor.
3. Develops Communication Skills
As mentioned above, general statements can often fail to foster a welcoming culture within a company. Although “My door is always open” or “How can you help”, they often fail to foster a welcoming company culture. Although they may have the same intentions, they can generate very different responses. A more direct approach will help you see the team’s thinking and provide clarity. You will soon realize that the silence you heard in the previous statement was not a sign that your colleagues didn’t need assistance. It was a sign that they weren’t able to ask for it or felt they were lacking the capability. Being a leader means being able to adapt to and embrace the different communication styles of your team.
4. Leads to Broader Opportunities
The beginning stages of a career are often filled with dreams and opportunities. However, it is a common misconception that once a leader is reached, all opportunities are available to you. Even at the top level of leadership, there will always be projects that move ahead without you. This could be because the work they do is not within your expertise or at your pay grade.
It is commonly advised to those starting out in their careers that asking others how you can help will lead to greater opportunities, and this approach is something you should embrace throughout your career. Asking colleagues for help can open up new opportunities, even at the top of your career.
5. Produces Stronger Results
Think back to a time where you were solely responsible in completing a project. Did you spend too much time staring at a proposal or hitting a roadblock while trying to come up with a creative solution? These cases would have led to weaker deliverables that could have been strengthened if there had been fresh thinking and collaboration among colleagues. My experience shows that taking the initiative to help others leads to stronger outputs and better-quality work.