Asking for Help at Work

Asking for help at work can sometimes seem daunting. You may question whether you should already have the answer, or worry that you may appear incapable. This article aims to help you embrace the concept of asking for help, explain how to go about it properly, and also show that it is a benefit rather than a hindrance to the success of your career.

Why should I ask for help?

Imagine that you have recently started a new role and you want to show your capabilities to your employer and colleagues. The last thing you may wish to do is ask for assistance as you are trying to prove yourself. However, before you go ahead and guess the answer, it is essential that you remember one thing: when working in an important field such as the law, the most critical thing is to do things correctly. Imagine that you do not ask for help, a crucial letter or form is sent out with a mistake and the firm’s reputation is damaged. As legal support staff, your role is essential to the effective running of the company and it also has an impact on its reputation. Therefore, if you don’t know the answer, just ask – your colleagues should welcome your questions.

If you have been working in a role for a while, you may not want to “bother” your colleagues by asking for help, or you may think that it makes you look incompetent. At these times it is important to remember that whether you are new to your role or have worked in the field for a while, your role will be continually developing. In order to develop, we will need to keep learning, and in order to do so, we must ask questions. It may also be that you are not as involved in certain aspects of the work carried out as other members of your team and the best way to learn is to ask an expert.

How should I ask for help?

Before rushing to your colleagues with every question which might come up, it is important to check through any notes you may have regarding the job to see if you already have the answer. If you cannot find the information, it’s time to ask for help.

Try to remember that your colleagues also have roles to carry out and may not be able to help you right away. If it is not urgent, then approach your colleagues and ask, “Would you mind helping me when you have a moment?” This will remove any pressure for them to drop what they are doing, and you may receive a more favourable response.

If you feel that you may know the answer but just want to check, this is also a great idea and in fact will show your colleagues that you are using your initiative but want to be sure that you are correct. You may ask your colleagues, “I just want to check my understanding of…” and then present your interpretation and ask whether it is correct.

Overall, although asking for help at work can seem daunting, if you follow our tips your work colleagues should not only welcome your questions, but also see you as a trustworthy and valuable part of the team.