David Marquet - Intent Based Leadership: Create Leaders at Every Level

How to Ask for Help (without getting told what to do)

Leadership NudgeTM – How to Ask for Help (without getting told what to do)

This week let’s talk about how to ask for help without getting told what to do. Let’s say you have a leader or a boss and they have given you authority to make a certain decision. You need a little help and you want to ensure that you two are aligned. You know you need a little help from the boss, but you are worried that if you go to the boss they are going to end up telling you what to do.

Here’s the key. When you go to the boss don’t say “I need some help with this decision.” Say this instead, “I need the following information from you.” Be specific about what it is that you need. Statements like; “I need to know what success would be here” or “I need to know how you would think through this” or “I don’t need you to make this decision for me I just need the following information” can be very powerful for you and help avoid steering the boss into telling you what to do. That only results in two unhappy people; you and the boss.

My leadership nudge to you this week is this:

When asking for help, be specific and say, “I need the following information” instead of “Hey I need help with this decision.”

Let us know how it goes!

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