I was talking with some operations folks a few days ago, and they actually gave me some interesting insight into understanding the concept of “asking for help”, so I thought I would share it with everyone:
Asking for help with you don’t understand something, or when the task is “over your head” is great. It means you care about getting your job done, and you just need a little push in the right direction to get it done (maybe you need to know where to look, or how to look, or want advice on concepts foreign to your previous expertise).
These types of people tend to be extremely effective at any type of task they are presented with.
Asking for help at the 11th hour because you’ve procrastinated doing the work, or put off the work because you did not understand what was asked is not good. It means you did not schedule, plan, and execute. It means you did not care about getting your job done until a deadline pushed you into a corner.
These types of people tend to work just above the level of competency.
Asking for help (when what you really mean is “Do my job for me”) is the worst type of work. It implies that you don’t know how to complete the task, and you’re not going to try. You going to ask questions until someone gives you the complete answer or just gives up trying to help you and just does the task so they can get back to their job.
These types of people tend to perform below an acceptable level of competency, and tend to consistently fail at most tasks assigned to them.
The next time you are working on something, think about how you are attempting to confront the tasks in front of you, and how you are asking others to help you. The very way that you ask for help may demonstrate more than you know!