One of the greatest misconceptions about managers is the unstated, yet widely believed myth, that as a manager, you are one of those rare, glorified beings that is perfect. You are superman or superwoman in a business suit, and all that is missing is your cape. You are all knowing and all powerful and there is no limit to your knowledge or abilities. You have no weaknesses. No, not even kryptonite can faze you, you are invincible!
Many of us realise that we don’t have any special “super powers”. We acknowledge that we have flaws and that we need the help of others to accomplish our goals. Accepting this and being wise enough to admit our limitations and ask for help, is a sign of confidence, strength, self-awareness and sanity. Yet, many managers and other leaders simply refuse to admit to any short-comings, either on a personal or professional level, and continue to act as though they are omnipotent.
Learning to admit weaknesses and ask for help seems to be the hardest for those who have been newly appointed as a manager or other leader. There are many reasons why leaders have difficulty admitting their limitations and asking for help.
Many leaders are just so busy juggling so many tasks and duties, they don’t feel they have the time or resources to spend on receiving training and coaching. Yet, taking the time to receive some outside, objective coaching to hone one’s skills and abilities and get the necessary help to achieve objectives is absolutely critical to being a successful leader.
Other leaders are fearful of admitting that they don’t know everything. Sometimes a leader lacks the self-esteem to admit they need help, so their ego prevents them from seeking help. Other times a leader might fear that they will be passed over for promotion or otherwise penalised if they seek help. So, they refuse to ask for help or admit mistakes. Most truly successful companies, however, realise that their executives need training and other assistance to be effective leaders. Most successful leaders realise that they can’t do everything and can’t know everything, and they are wise enough to admit when this is true and to seek both internal and external help when it is needed.
By being honest, humble and genuine, and asking for help, a leader is able to focus on their strengths, as well as the strengths of the individual members of their team. Being strong enough to let one’s guard down and ask for help also builds connections and rapport between a leader and their direct reports. It helps leaders to get their team members “on their side,” so that they work together instead of against one another. Being wise enough to seek mentors, to ask for counselling, coaching and other training is the best way to gain the experience and growth that is necessary to be an effective leader.
As a leader, knowing your limits and being self-assured enough to admit them and ask for help is a win-win situation for everyone. Don’t be afraid, or ashamed, to ask for help!
Do you wake up each morning excited about going to work, or do you dread it? Are you struggling with how to motivate your team to work together? Do you need help getting work done through others rather than doing everything yourself? These are common leadership challenges that coaching and training can help you address. You just need to be open and honest enough to ask for help.