The Power of Receiving
New leaders find giving help easier than receiving help but receiving is necessary. Supporting others earns promotions. Receiving help expands impact and maximizes the talents of others.
Doug Conant, author and former CEO of Campbell’s Soup, has a leadership model that centers around the question, “How can I help?” Check out his book, Touch Points. (Highly recommended reading)
If you follow Doug’s example, and consistently ask, “How can I help?” others will begin asking you the same question. Don’t be shy. Tell them! Explaining how to help helps healthy teams support each other.
Some examples of explaining how to help:
- “I need a few sips of coffee before being bombarded with questions in the morning.”
- “Bring solutions with problems.”
- “Tell me what hasn’t worked.”
- “Tell me what you want, first, and then explain the issue.”
Does your team know what support looks like to you?
Does your team know your preferred work style?
Are you frustrated by interactions that could easily change?
Getting help from others is a way of
giving help to those who want you to succeed.
“How can I help?” is a powerful question. Ask it often. Furthermore, when someone asks you, “How can I help?” answer clearly.
- It’s helpful when…
- You can help me by…
- I could use your help with…
- I’m working on…
- I enjoy it when…
Saying, “Here’s how to help me,” enables team members to contribute more effectively. If you don’t receive help, you won’t go far.
Bonus: When someone helps, thank them.
What can others do to help you?
It’s helpful when _______.
You are of course correct Dan. For most of us it is much easier to offer and give help than to ask and receive.
Being specific about the ways in which you need help actually frees everyone to do their best in their own area of expertise. So for me your second posit, “It’s helpful when I am able to concentrate on what I do best, and let them take care of the rest.”
What can others do to help me? Be more aware of what’s going on around them. Be proactive; don’t always wait for me to spell it out for you. If you like reading what I write, share it.
And always end with thank you. Celebrate what other people give, even what you may consider it “small stuff.” What may be “nothing” to you may mean “everything” to them, and everyone likes to have the light shone on them every now and then. It helps them grow.
Thank you Martina.
One challenge is if you have a best you must be willing to share your worst. Not all leaders can be strong AND weak.
Agreed. But it is having and recognizing both that make us whole and complete. We should be willing to share our strength as well as our weakness, especially when it benefits the team.
Great post, as usual. Just note, the spelling of receiving…
Thanks for the help Melancholymons! 🙂
The rule is “i before e, except after c, and when pronounced a as in neighbour and sleigh”. Just thought I’d share that – great to pass on to the kids so they don’t make the mistake…
Without being over-picky. there are (apparently) over 400 occasions in english where the ”i’ before ‘e’ except after ‘c” rule doesn’t work. The whole rule irritates the heck out of me because I followed it religeously for a nuimber of years and found out it was simply not true!
Dan, I wasn’t expecting the coffee or “does your team know your prefered work style” examples. Often, when a leader is open to receiving help…it’s normally task oriented, “….Copy this, make these calls…” Explaining ways people can help you be more productive and a better you but better understanding you, is great advice. After all, a great leader strives to know what makes their team members tick.
Knowing how people tick and helping them know you is like teaching someone to fish rather than giving them a fish. Thanks for stopping in.
A powerful & thought-provoking post! Receiving help from others is the key to your success. Good leaders always look for the individual and collective efforts of others while working on a big common goal. Acknowledging the help as reveived from others with a small ‘thank you’ goes a long way in keeping the team duly motivated and ensuring the continued support to you in your professional endeavor.
Thank you and here’s to another prosperous year for you.
The concept of receiving is really powerful. While receiving earns promotion, it also lift others When you receive, you are indebted to extend receiving to others. It means receiving is one way seeking help. So, to make the cycle virtuous, you have to give others. And how much you give to others and receive from others actually determines your leadership impact. It also decides your style of leadership. I think, leaders give more than expect to receive. And this ideology is more powerful and sustainable. However, there are leaders who seek to received help almost all the time. You can not receive when you can not give. And this makes sense to become good leaders. Leaders should believe in giving and perhaps not expect in receiving. When you expect from others, you are weakening your leadership impact.
I think others can share information to help me. I also believe others should acknowledge my potential and encourage to do more. And no help is greater than this. So, there is difference between help and favor. I believe in getting help not favor. And giver and receiver both should be cautious about getting favor. But one thing is clear, when you seek help from others, you are most likely to receive it. When you do not receive, you need to question- whether it is favor or help?
Love the concept of a ‘virtuous cycle’ Ajay, thanks!
Another gem of a post Dan. Some thoughts and a short story.
Leaders that reach out to offer help should avoid being judgmental of what the person asking for help is asking. Take a few breaths and listen to the context of the matter. Be additive to the solution. Resist taking over. Let the employee work through the issue. Offer support. Break down barriers.
If a leader decides to step out on this “How can I hep?” path, he/she must be mindful that not only is the person receiving help paying close attention, BUT everyone else around that person is paying attention too. It is fascinating how many leaders fail to realize that those they are leading are paying VERY close attention to what they say and, especially, what they do.
Short Story – I recall an operations director, my boss, in DuPont that asked his leadership team at a plant, “Who do you think will be the next person to get hurt?” After the “deer in the headlights moment” passed, invariably someone would mention an employee’s name usually because the employee tended to take short cuts or behave in a risky manner. The director would stop the meeting asking the plant manager to introduce him to this person. After informal introductions, the director would tell the employee that the plant leadership believes he was going to be the next person on the plant to get hurt. Of course the employee was surprised, at least in his facial expression. The director would follow up with the question…”What can I do to help prevent you from getting hurt?’
Having observed the director do this every time he first visited a plant, it was interesting to watch the reaction of his leadership team and the surrounding employees.
Very powerful way for a leader to express personal commitment to safety.
Many excellent layers to that story Jim, thanks for sharing. Phenom modeling.
Thanks Doc, probably the best boss I ever had. He was the only leader to achieve that level in the organization without a ChemEng degree. His degree was in history.
Receiving help as a way of training others, as well as teaching how to receive help. What a great way to look at leadership ripples in the pond………
Thanks Dan – great post. I’ve found that many of us have a hard time receiving help, praise, compliments, and almost anything good. Especially leaders who seem to think they need to have all the answers and be able to do it all alone. Thanks for sharing this perspective and “permission” to ask for help.
Wonder if this is also one of those areas where some preliminary steps would be helpful? Sharing a cuppa or meal perhaps?
Have you noticed that many of the hour long TV dramas have scenes with the main characters sharing…often the ‘lead’ brings coffee to co-lead or others in the cast, with the coffee being a metaphor for giving of oneself.
Also, the coffee exchange is an ‘in common’ shared experience or connection beyond the ‘work’.
The ritual and metaphor of ‘breaking bread’, sharing a meal with someone creates a powerful unspoken receptivity and an environment where, to a degree, one can be more open and increase connectivity layers many times over. That is a foundation of social capital and exchange that can be a very strong base. Within that framework, mutually identifying how we can help each other grow, learn and improve creates solid bonds.
Wow. One of the best posts Dan! Printer worthy (and that is rare for anyone haha)
It’s helpful when I allow myself to let others give feedback. That’s kind of a theme with me lately. When others are honest with me about my weaknesses and strengths, I can take action to improve the weaknesses and play to my strengths. I win and they win!
Thanks for sharing, Dan. I do believe that people in the organization would work better together if everyone knew how they could help each other. I will definitely keep this in mind in the future.
Great post Dan. We as leaders, whether at work or at home assume that person or group know what you want from them. Interaction can greatly eliminate wasted energy.
Great post Dan. As leaders at work or in the home we assume at the other person or group knows what we want from them. started reading the book touch point, thanks for the information!
Getting or asking for help by Type A individuals can be hard to do for those people. But inviting help from others certainly promotes more ownership and participation by those contributors to the overall goal.
There’s another issue here Dan, where I thought the article was going.
It’s OK as a leader to need help.
It’s even more OK when your people see this and can provide the help you need. Being human and not perfect builds rapport and your relationships going forward with your team.
Don’t let them even consider that you’re ‘perfect’.
In fact, it’s a great tactic to sometimes appear to need help when you don’t actually need it as long as you do it carefully.
It can draw out others skills in the area you are working in and actually stimulate different perspectives from your own which might have been your traditional way to figure things out.
And build their confidence in themselves – and you.
Reblogged this on David A. Vudragovich and commented:
I really like those first four! Always insightful.