I Heed Help!

Three words that ensure your continued success

By Stephen Garber

You’re a successful leader. You’re making your way to the top, if you’re not already there. You are an expert in your field, a trained professional, a prosperous entrepreneur and a highly effective leader. However, the words “I need help!” are the three most important words to ensure your continued success.

I get that very few of us think we are rewarded for saying, “I don’t know,” “I am not sure what to do” or “I need help.” It just wasn’t the way to the front of the line or the next promotion.

However, as our world of work and collaboration becomes more technical and moves even faster, the path to success is more and more about teams communicating, cooperating and collaborating to deliver great results – together.

Yes, sometimes we are asked to do so with people, teams or organizations that we don’t know well or with whom we are competitively vying for some reward or advancement. It can be hard to trust them.

In this case, it doesn’t seem logical to ask for help, but it is. Working together is the only way to really get ahead – even if it’s with the perceived competition. Being trustworthy is the rocklike foundation of any relationship, whether in life or at work. When we trust and are trusted, relationships prosper.

In my work during the last 30 years of helping teams prosper, the power of vulnerability is the one most compelling and, often, counterintuitive concepts. Most of us think of vulnerability as a weakness. Dr. Brené Brown, who has studied vulnerability as a leadership principle for years and consults some of the most successful companies on earth, says, “Vulnerability sounds like truth and feels like courage. Truth and courage aren’t always comfortable, but they’re never weakness.”

Here is what I’ve learned using this concept:

• Vulnerability is actually our greatest and most accurate measure of courage.

• Without knowing we are vulnerable, we cannot be courageous.

• Vulnerability represents uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.

• If we are honest with ourselves, we feel vulnerable a lot!

• Vulnerability is seen by many of us as courage in you and weakness in me.

The reality is th141at the more we change the view of vulnerability in our minds to a positive, the more success we have as leaders, as teams and as businesses.

Try it. Tell someone who presents a challenge to you that you need their help. Your kid(s), your partners, the teams you lead. Maybe they will judge you as being weak. More likely, they will step into that invitation and offer you support in surprising and powerful ways. Your work will be easier. They will likely feel empowered. Your life will be better.

Steve Garber is director of Third Level Ltd. Contact him at 561.752.5505 or sgarber@thirdlevel.com.

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