I was settled on my flight, and we were preparing for takeoff. I had an aisle seat and noticed an adorable toddler in the seat in front and across from me. Shortly after takeoff, I was slapped in the face with an aroma that was undoubtedly the smell of a dirty diaper. This child with all of her cuteness was going to be unable to change herself and needed help from her parents to take care of the situation.

The circumstances may be different for adults, but no matter how well we seem to be doing, we all face situations we have created where we need help from another person. As professionals, this is true whether we work independently or in group settings. We run into a wall and can’t come up with ideas; we make mistakes and require another person’s expertise; we’re not sufficient on our own to handle a certain workload. What do you do in situations like this?

Ideally, a person knows enough about the task at hand and about himself to realize the best answer is to get help. While some of us struggle with asking for help, it is key for survival, both personally and professionally. Unfortunately, a person may struggle to ask for help for a number of reasons. She may think she’ll appear less valuable or weak if she asks for help. But to that I would ask, “Is it better to succeed with help or struggle on your own?”

There are times, as with the situation on my airplane trip, when people are unable to recognize or ask for help on their own. These are the times when we need our co-workers, leaders or parents, to step in and help us when we cannot help ourselves. Unfortunately for me and the rest of the people in my seating area on that flight, the toddler’s parents didn’t intervene to provide the help the toddler needed, and we all suffered the consequences for the remainder of the flight.

Now to You…
Have you experienced a situation in your professional career where you saw a person struggle with a task he could not complete on his own? What did you do? Did you intervene to help or let the person struggle? If you chose to step in to help, what steps did you take in approaching the person and providing the help he needed?
 

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