MSN Careerbuilder recently ran an article by Danny Goldin, titled How to Call in a Favor at Work. It deals with those situations when the daily grind becomes a bit too much. The article recognizes that although we may be reluctant to ask other people for help, each of us may have to do it from time to time – no arguing about that. What’s important, the author says, is how you ask.
“People never want to be known as the office pest, causing their co-workers to duck for cover when they approach. To ensure that this fate isn’t bestowed upon you, Lynn Taylor, a nationally-recognized workplace expert and CEO of Lynn Taylor Consulting, provides a few pointers.”
My recommendations, in short, are as follows:
• Make sure you are not asking too much.
• Timing is everything – “Is it a good time?”
• It’s a two-way street, so offer something in return.
The article quotes other experts offering an insight that I couldn’t agree more with: it’s important to use your interpersonal skills when you approach someone for a favor; you have to consider who is that person – for example, their age – and what’s the nature of your relationship with them. Then you shape your request to fit the situation.
In conclusion, the article offers another bit of advice from yours truly:
“Don’t forget to thank them, if possible, publicly,” Taylor says. “It won’t hurt to thank them immediately for saying ‘yes,’ and later when the event happens. A formal thank you in the form of a note or e-mail is also welcomed because it’s more visible and in black and white. It demonstrates more thought than just a phone call.”
So, never hesitate to ask for help when you really need it. And by doing it just right, not only you are able to achieve more, you are also sharing success with your co-worker and building a better, more collaborative workplace.