Asking for help when needed – this is also a valuable skill

By Joel Montvelisky /

Asking for help when needed – this is also a valuable skill

It’s not easy asking for help.

When as part of my work I ask someone to come and take care of something for me and to provide better results than those I have been able to achieve, it means that I am openly stating the fact that I’m not able to do something as well as this other person is be able to do it.

I am saying out loud that this other person is better than me, that I am not as good as him or her.

trial and error

Some people I’ve worked with are not good at accepting this, especially as they become older and think that they’ve become experts.

The absurd thing is that we do it all the time without even thinking about it.

When our car breaks down, we go to the repair shop. We may try to open the hood and look for a cable that disconnected, but anything bigger than that means we will go to a professional.

When we are not feeling well, we go to the doctor. Sure, I will take a pill for a headache, but if I feel seriously ill I will not try to start injecting myself with stuff I have at home.

Even when we want to invite some friends for hamburgers, we go to the butcher and get the meat, we do not go to the field and look for… (you get my point, right?)

When are we going to understand that also in our workplace, even when we are talking about testing, there will be tasks that make more sense to ask someone with more experience and tools to solve?

Sure! As this person works try to learn from her. Ask questions if possible. Expand your knowledge. Add more tools to your virtual toolbox.

The point here is not about being lazy and asking someone to do stuff you do not want to do. It is about understanding when you lack the knowledge and the experience.

I am not saying to be lazy!

I am not saying to be lazy!

Maybe I need to clarify something here.

I am not saying that the moment you find yourself doing something you’ve never done before you need to stop and call for someone to do it for you. How would you learn that way?.

Self learning, investigating, trial and error, etc. These are the most important tools you have at your disposal.

Especially today when most knowledge is only a web-search away, it is absurd to ask for help when you are looking for ways to solve simple challenges and learn new skills.

Learning when to ask for help is a skill in itself.

asking for help as a skill

As a manager, one of the things I make sure to explain to all my employees is that I expect them to try and solve their problems before they come to me or anyone else for quick answers.

But I also expect them to know when they are wasting too much time looking for an answer, and also to understand if the task at hand is either too important or too big for them in order to take it as an exercise in self learning by trial and error.

Back to the issue with asking for help…

If you are a professional, regardless of your profession, you get to a point where you stop proving yourself to others. This is not a question of how many years you’ve been doing something, it is a question of matureness and integrity.

When I know that I work hard and that whenever possible I will look for the answers myself, then I will not feel bad when the need arises to ask others for help.

At work you are not trying to prove yourself to anyone, you are trying to do your job and add value in the best possible way.

When’s the last time you asked for help?

About Joel Montvelisky

Joel Montvelisky is a Co-Founder and Chief Solution Architect at PractiTest.
A Forbes council member, and blogger, Joel is constantly imparting webinars on a number of testing and Quality Related topics.
In addition, Joel is the founder and Chair of the OnlineTestConf, the co-founder of the State of Testing survey and report and a Director at the Association of Software Testing.

Free Trial

14 day free trial, no CC required