Learning how to lead: Helping

by Dan Rockwell – January 2013

How can I help?

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.

“Counter to conventional thinking, asking for help from others demonstrates strength and confidence,” adds David Peart, Senior Vice President at the Pittsburgh Penguins. “Engaging others for help also fosters a collaborative spirit within a corporate culture. That’s valuable and empowering for an organization and an individual leader.”

David Peart

Some examples of explaining how to help:

  1. “I need a few sips of coffee before being bombarded with questions in the morning.”
  2. “Bring solutions with problems.”
  3. “Tell me what hasn’t worked.”
  4. “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.

  1. It’s helpful when…
  2. You can help me by…
  3. I could use your help with…
  4. I’m working on…
  5. 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.

Discussion with your sales team

What can others do to help you?

It’s helpful when _______.

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