Over the years, we’ve learned that there’s no defined path or formula to being a successful team member. However, two key factors that stand out based on our experiences are the power of crystal-clear communication and being comfortable asking for help—even when a tight timeline is looming or especially when stakes are high to complete a task. We would rather get things right the first time by asking for clarification, rather than risking delays in meeting our deliverables.


In today’s work environment, showing an all-hands commitment to helping others allows teams to thrive in crunch time. But in the process, we might overlook our own need to ask for day-to-day help.


The best leaders learn to get extra input. It helps to grow their knowledge and validate their instincts. Plus, it’s good for business: It’s important to get things right the first time, and asking for help can reduce delays and mitigate risks.


Yet most of us have probably had times in our careers when we didn’t ask for help when we needed it. So, let’s decode the internal barriers for seeking guidance.


The first step is to become self-aware. Ask yourself: Do I need help? When launching a career, it’s essential to learn various aspects of a job. Asking for help feeds that natural craving to stand out as an achiever. But as you settle in, the desire to grow and advance your career might be held back by an inability to ask for help. Why?


Perception barriers can hinder the impulse to reach out:

  • How will others in the meeting perceive me?
  • Will my credibility be at risk?
  • Will I be labeled as someone who constantly needs help?

Others might find ways to suppress the urge:

  • Let me isolate to try and find solutions.
  • This is too difficult to handle. I want to run and hide.
  • Other perspectives might confuse me more.

Of course, organizations need to foster a culture that values and encourages team members to ask for help. But that’s not always easy to do in today’s hybrid work environment, where feelings of isolation can be an inhibitor. For instance, virtual team meetings reduce interpersonal interactions and can make it more difficult to break the ice.


Many resources are available to teach you how to ask the right questions, but it’s just as important to understand why you need to empower yourself to ask for help. Asking questions and seeking clarification allows us to tap into the expertise of other team members and senior leaders to explore a wider spectrum of opportunities and solutions. Learning this skill can help unleash a powerful new mindset, which boils down to a simple request: “Help me understand this.”


The willingness to admit uncertainty helps to create an environment of openness and trust—and that’s particularly true for management accountants. To fulfill their role as the critical link between finance and commercial business, they must understand the dynamics of the business and deliverables while maintaining oversight on financial and control implications. In the world of cross collaboration, not knowing an answer or providing an incorrect picture or input for certain business questions might pose risks that can impact a company’s revenue or reputation.


Embracing a proactive approach to seeking help empowers us to extend help to our peers and prompt personal growth. Challenge yourself to develop a mindset that strengthens your ability to ask for help—and achieve the best results.

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