Many stories we tell ourselves about career success are actually holding us back and keeping us stagnant. For many, success means they must look self-reliant, confident, and always sure of what they do. As a leader, it is not uncommon to think that asking for help is a sign of weakness – or that you “don’t know all the answers.”  

Aside from the potential fear or hesitancy that your request for support may be rejected — what are some myths about asking for help at work that may be holding you back from achieving your full potential? Let’s explore the following scenarios: 

Myth #1: It shows you cannot do your job.

It’s normal to fear judgment in an office environment, particularly when positioning yourself for a promotion or a raise. However, asking for help does not reflect incompetence. It tells others you care about your responsibilities and want to get the best results possible. 

Furthermore, it says you trust your teammates and are interested in learning from their skills and experience. These are leadership qualities that will benefit your team.

Myth #2: You will be a burden to your team

It’s not uncommon for people to feel guilty about asking for help. Your colleagues are busy, too, and may have too much on their plate already. This can make you think twice before reaching out to a teammate or manager.

Think about it this way: it is in everyone’s interest to ensure the team performs at its best. So, instead of being a burden to your team, you’re making sure the project flows quickly and efficiently as you learn from your colleagues and continue with the next task.

Myth #3: It shows weakness

Vulnerability is not weakness. For most people, career success comes with a dose of collective support both in personal and professional environments. To learn and improve at a steady pace, it’s vital to see struggles, doubts and mistakes as part of the learning process instead of flaws. 

While you can’t count on every single person, most people are happy to lend others a hand. A recent Stanford research study reminds us not to underestimate the fact that people genuinely want to help us – mainly because (and not surprising) it feels good to help others!

Myth #4: Your job as a leader is to assist and uplift others – not the other way around.

While there is an element of reality to this statement, consider this: revealing your struggles to your team increases trust and connection. As stated above, “weakness” does not imply fragility – it indicates that you are human. It shows vital leadership skills such as confidence, trust in your team, and willingness to learn. 

Deep down, what might be keeping you stuck is fear of people’s opinions of your skills and qualities – and, ultimately, rejection. However, not reaching out for help keeps you overworked and isolated and prevents you from learning and improving. 

To get unstuck, start by opening yourself up for help and collaboration. Leadership is a journey – not a destination and support is essential. 

Our executive readiness program applies a whole-person approach to leadership development that meets you where you are at — utilizing both one-on-one and group coaching opportunities for reflection and real-time opportunities to apply the knowledge and insights gained along the way. Ask us today how we can help.