I realized in my first part of Asking for Help that I didn’t put a fine enough point on some of the points I should have made when asking for help.
Alerting falls into a greater category of communication. Alerting, or maybe we can call it “Struggle Signaling,” can help others know that, while you’re not yet ready to call it quits and ask for help, things aren’t going as smoothly as you’d like.
At my company we work within small teams, sometimes alone, on projects with tight deadlines. These deadlines are scheduled closely together. Getting ramped up and becoming quickly effective is paramount. This means that being blocked or struggling to make forward progress can become catastrophic quickly.
Even though the risk of staying quiet is more pronounced on shorter, faster projects there’s a lot to learn on any project.
Our natural inclination is to hope for the best and to put some herculean effort in so we don’t have to bother others. Indeed, it is nice to know that you were able to solve a problem without a ton of external support, but often it puts the project at risk, puts stress on you, and isn’t the most efficient way of working.
Alerting and Struggle Signaling is the middle ground between being blocked and needing assistance and toiling away quietly. Letting others know that things aren’t going smoothly, and that you need support can drastically reduce the amount of time you struggle. Pulling in your your boss or leader who can help pull in the right resources can be especially effective and can increase the projects likelihood of success quickly.
The value of the team is our diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and capabilities. Coordinate and communicate with that team as much as possible for the best outcome.
Photo Credit: Gary Bendig