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From the CEO’s Desk: The Importance of Asking for Help When You’re at the Top

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Whether you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a professional leading a small team of co-workers, it can be lonely at the top — doubly so if you make the mistake of failing to ask for help when you need it. While decision-making responsibility may be solely on your shoulders, that doesn’t mean you can’t ask for support in carrying the weight. In fact, knowing when to ask for help is a defining characteristic of exceptional leaders.

Why wouldn’t you ask for help?

Unfortunately, many of us fear that requesting assistance in a professional setting will make us appear weak, indecisive, unsure of ourselves or simply unable to handle our responsibilities. The fear of being perceived as a failure can keep you from asking for help when you most need it; when going it alone could mean making less-than-perfect decisions or being unable to fulfill work commitments.

Here’s the liberating truth:

No professional gets his or her job done totally on their own; you’re already getting help/support/assistance from others whether you’ve asked for it or not and whether you recognize it or not. When you accept that you’re already taking help from others on your team, you’ll feel a sense of liberation, realizing it’s actually beneficial to get support in your working role.

Getting help can make you a better leader.

A leader’s job is, first and foremost, to ensure the entire team gets the job done. However, you’re also responsible for helping others find opportunities to excel and ensuring everyone has time to grow professionally and personally.

When you get help and wisely delegate tasks, you give others on your team the chance to further develop their professional skills, build their confidence and really shine. You also give yourself the time to focus on the bigger picture tasks that help keep everyone moving forward, rather than allowing yourself to get bogged down trying to do everything.

Finally, asking for help can build trust and camaraderie between leaders and those they lead. Your workers will see you as more human and you’ll learn they are worthy of your trust and confidence.

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