What happens when employees don’t ask for help

Did you know that according to a Fast Company-Harris Poll,86% of workers felt mental health awareness is an important work topic, but 58%didn’t feel comfortable talking about it at work? This may extend beyond mentalhealth as well. What about when someone needs help finishing a project or isstruggling with their job performance? Aren’t these things we’re supposed tohave figured out?

I will start. There were a number of years where I wanted toask for help figuring out how to move into a senior leadership position withinthe organizations where I worked. Even though it seemed to me that my teamswere performing well, achieving our goals and going beyond, I didn’t feel likeI was perceived as a true strategic leader. I also couldn’t figure out how toask for help. (Every method I thought of made me feel whiny or incompetent.)

In another case, I applied for and interviewed for a jobwhere I had to give a presentation to the Executive Committee of theorganization. I was nervous, but it went pretty well. At the end of thepresentation, one of the executives looked at me and said “Great job – you nailedit!” He then looked at the hiring manager and said “Now, she’s not going to goand get pregnant, is she?” It was as if I wasn’t even there. I was mortifiedand wanted to ask for help, but I felt I had nowhere to go.

I’m curious to hear what you all think. Have you ever beenin a situation at work where you wanted to ask for help, but you didn’t feelcomfortable doing so? What were the circumstances? If you’re comfortablesharing, what were the repercussions of not asking for help?

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