S.O.S. – Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

S.O.S. in Morse code


  • Knowing when to ask for help is a sign of professional maturity
  • Sometimes a problem demands more resources than you have at your disposal
  • Realize when a nut is too tough to crack on your own, and ask for help early when additional resources can still solve the problem
  • Stay engaged and see it through to success

Don’t be afraid to ask for help at work.

S.O.S. in Morse code
S.O.S. in Morse code

The work place is a team environment. Your employer wants you to succeed. When you succeed, your team succeeds, your manager succeeds, and your company succeeds. It’s a win-win, all-around win situation.

A Tough Nut to Crack

Do you always have to take on a hard problem by yourself? No.

Sometimes the problem that you’re trying to solve is much harder than it seems, requiring more resources. More staff. More budget. More expertise. More time. Such resources are not likely to be under your control or purview. However, these resources may be at the disposal of your more senior colleagues or manager.

What are you to do? Can you ask for help, without casting yourself as a “failure”? Absolutely, if you know how…

Asking for help actually shows maturity, especially after you have made an honest and valiant attempt.

Do ask for help in a timely manner. Not at the 11th hour. But with enough time for the team to engage and help. For increased budgets to kick in. For outside expertise to be brought in to bear on the problem. Or for the schedule to be changed.

When to Ask for Help (and Call the Nut “Tough to Crack”)

Do your “homework” first. Be sure you have applied all your knowledge to the problem and have exhausted all tools and resources at your disposal.

Ask Early. Don’t wait until the 11th hour, when it becomes an emergency for everyone. This is exactly what to avoid. This is how you get yourself in trouble. This is how teams fail. But with enough time for the team to engage and help. For managers to deploy additional resources: more talent, more subject matter expertise, more tools, more budget, and/or more time. The problem becomes solvable.

The Follow Through

Stay Engaged and See It Though. Just because additional resources are brought to bear, it does not mean to that you can let off the throttle and coast, watching others around you solve the problem that was originally assigned to you. No. Stay engaged. In fact, increase your engagement. Be part of the solution. And see the problem through to its success.

Be Grateful. Be sure to show appreciation for everyone involved with helping you solve the problem.

Learn from the experience. This is one of the keys to success in your career. Take the time to reflect and identify the lessons learned for your professional development.

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