My Mother-in-Law has a saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” And as much as I disagree with her on some things, this one she has right. You can’t know everything.
But have you ever refrained from asking someone for help for fear of looking stupid, or less-able?
Well, ask away because new research has shown that our fears of appearing less competent in asking for help are completely unfounded. In fact, it’s the opposite. Asking someone else for help makes you look more competent to others.
Harvard’s Business School recently conducted a series of studies, which will soon be published in the Journal Management Science.
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Using a series of five separate studies, researchers aimed to determine the impact of asking for help on other peoples perceptions of us.
One of the studies asked it’s participants to pretend that they were stalled on a problem at work. Some of the participants were instructed to seek the advice of a colleague in the problem solving journey, while others were told that they needed to come up with a solution on their own, without outside influence.
When asked how they thought workmates would feel about them and their approach to the problem solving, respondents noted that in asking for help they felt they would come across as far less competent than they would if they attempted to solve the issue alone.