My guess is that you are very good at offering help. And good at giving help.
How good are you at receiving help?
My husband is known for generously helping others. Over Easter we were camping with my family. He helped my father take down his annex. He helped my sister pack her stuff…
Once packed, my father offered to help him pack down our camper trailer. ‘No thanks Dad. It’s fine.’ Dad stood around, uncomfortable… My father tried again to help and after getting a similar response he gave up.
In “Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead” Brene Brown asserts “Until we can receive with an open heart, we are never really giving with an open heart. When we attach judgment to receiving help, we knowingly or unknowingly attach judgment to giving help.”
So true! We all need help. Brene Brown quotes research* that supports the notion that vulnerability and courage in a leader are contagious, and I have seen this with the teams I work with.
David is an example of this. He leads a Division, and worked hard to shield his leadership team from challenging external dynamics. His intention was to protect them, and enable them to stay focused on service delivery. Instead they felt David’s distance as lack of trust; they wanted to be involved and they were up for the challenge.
Once David showed his vulnerability, opened up to his team and shared what was going on, he could ask for their help. The pressure for David – and for the rest of the leadership team – was lessoned and the team dynamics strengthened. Others in the team began to show more vulnerability and courage. The mood lightened and everyone felt more supported.
Many leaders are good at offering help. Truly great leaders show vulnerability by asking for and receiving help too. Who could help you today?
* ‘How leaders spark and sustain change’, Harvard Business Review, November 2011, by Peter Fuda and Richard Badham