We are an independent society. We thrive on doing things our own way, and cutting a new swath. We assume that is the way to the top. So, we might be surprised to learn the results of a new study.Brene Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent more than a decade studying vulnerability, courage, authenticity and shame. Her books are best-sellers, and her TED Talk is one of the most popular of all time. She has helped thousands and thousands of people move their personal and professional lives forward. She reported their team research among a thousand credible leaders. They were asked to share what their team members do that most inspires trust. The answer? Asking for help. Who could begin to predict that?These leaders explained that they would not delegate important work to people who did not habitually because they did not trust that these people would ask for help if and when they needed it. That would put the whole project in jeopardy or make it less than it could and should be.Instead of making us look strong, independent, and capable, when we refuse to ask for help, we will discover that leaders only keep giving us the same projects over and over that they know we can do. We won’t grow. We will never get assignments that stretch our capacity, or grow our skill set. Our leaders cannot chance that we will get in over our heads and just flounder there because we are unwilling to ask for help.Brene says herself, “The people that I lead who I personally trust most are those who ask for input and help. Those who do I feel more comfortable in delegating important projects because if it’s too much work or it doesn’t make sense they will come back to me – this makes me feel safe, Not only will things no get too far down the wrong path, but the team member who is acknowledging a need for assistance also leaves space for me to come in and help guide. It has nothing to do with intelligence or competency or raw talent; it has everything to do with a relationship trust.”Asking for help is a sign of strength. It’s a wise move. Someone who can ask for help displays self-awareness. There can be no truly deep trust developed without self-awareness on both sides of the relationship.If you’ve been trying really hard to prove that you are an extraordinarily smart and independent Lone Ranger, take a step back. Are you getting more responsibility? Are you being entrusted with more important projects?It might be because you don’t ask for help or input enough.Brene would encourage you to raise your hand for help. Why don’t you?
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