I’ve written about the 5 characteristics I look for in new hires as well as how I think someone can prepare oneself for working in a fast-paced, intense, and super-fun startup and I realize that all those things can really apply to any business, regardless of size.
But one of foundational elements that I’ve been meditating about recently in not just hires but people that I want to work with and for is their propensity to ask for help.
The fact is that most people do not ask for help nearly as often as they should as they have determined, for whatever reason, that it is a sign of apparent weakness. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
The plain truth is that it takes a shit-ton of courage to ask for help and it requires a posture of humility that opens a world of opportunity.
I think it also clearly defines and expresses someone’s native character, not a fabrication of who they want to be (or who they feel they should be in a variety of contexts) but who they simply are. It is their worldview, their perspective on life, and the expression of it proceeds them at every turn.
You and I have met a ton of people, “self-made” success stories who appear to have it all figured out. They have not done it by themselves nor did they succeed without help, especially the people who have done something significant with their lives.
And at the end of the day I just simply respect the people who ask for help more than the undertone of arrogance that bleeds in the actions and thoughts of those that are too autonomous, too independent, and too self-sustaining. And what a boring and lonely life that must be.
Unfortunately the quality and skill of asking for help cannot be easily taught. It has to be engendered early and it’s something that is practiced for the rest of life.
And especially when you have little time to waste on hiring and building a company there is very little room for this type of behavior to be excused.
Model this behavior from leadership and then hire people who have the courage to ask for help as there is no room on the bus for asshole, self-made self-proclaimed rockstars; they can go work for another company.
This is tough medicine to swallow and I, myself, have been prescribed a healthy dose a long time ago – I take my allotment every morning.