Do you ever feel like you need to do something to make a difference? Like, no matter what it is, will your contribution be meaningful? Well, that’s how I feel lately. And I think there’s value in that feeling. Because, ultimately, we want to feel like we matter. Our lives mean something, and one of the best ways to achieve that is by helping others. It doesn’t matter who you are or what you do. You have the potential to make a real impact on someone else’s life.
Helping others may be one of the most important things you ever do as a leader. Leadership, as we know, is not a solo activity. It takes a group, and better yet, a team, to build something great. And that starts with you.
As a leader, it is your responsibility to help those around you to succeed. You cannot do it all alone. You need the help of others to achieve your vision. But more importantly, they need your help. It will not always be easy, but it will always be worth it.
Think about the last time you helped someone. Maybe you lent a coworker a pen during a meeting, or perhaps you carried a package for a colleague. Perhaps it was the last time you made copies for someone or gave them directions to a meeting. Whatever it was, the odds are that helping others made you feel pretty good.
And, when you’re able to help a colleague out with a task, it makes them feel appreciated and gives you a sense of satisfaction. Sometimes lending a helping hand to a colleague can make the entire office run more smoothly. That contributes enormously to the creation of a psychologically-safe environment.
By helping those around you to reach their potential, you create a ripple effect of positive change. Helping others can make you happier, more productive, and even healthier. When we help each other succeed, we create a better world for everyone. When we invest in each other’s success, we create a rising tide that lifts all boats. That’s why authentic leaders everywhere are committed to helping those around them reach their highest potential. They create an environment where everyone can thrive by providing encouragement and support. And when we all reach our full potential, we can change lift families and communities.
Antecedents to Helping
You don’t always have to be working on your projects or tasks to be productive. Helping is not something in the is in addition to your leadership tasks.
Make sure you have the right skills, and don’t let titles drive your helpfulness. In some cases, there’s no use offering to help with something you’re not good at doing! But, maybe the project involves critical thinking, a skill you have. Ask your colleague for advice if you’re unsure of what skills you need to help out with a particular task. They’ll be able to direct you better, and your help will be more appreciated.
Everyone is wonderfully different and will appreciate different levels of assistance. Some people will want you to take a hands-off approach. In contrast, others will want you to dive right in – it’s essential to read the situation and offer help accordingly. It’s also important to remember that not everyone operates the same way, so what might be helpful to one person might not be to another.
When you offer to help a colleague, be authentic in your desire to help. Nobody wants a helping hand from someone who is begrudging or doing it for ulterior motives. People can see through that, and it will make them feel uncomfortable. If you genuinely want to help out, your colleagues will appreciate it!
When it comes to being a helpful colleague, one of the best things you can do is ask if there is any way that you can specifically help out. This shows that you’re interested in making things easier for your colleague. It also demonstrates that you’re observant and paying attention to what’s happening around you. If there is a task that you can take off of their plate, offer to do it! They’ll likely be very grateful for your help.
How to be a Helpful Colleague
When we help others, we are helping ourselves.
When you see a colleague struggling, it can be tempting to return to your work. It can be challenging to know how best to help your colleagues. You might not have the right skills, or you could end up stepping on toes. However, taking the time to help them out can make a big difference. Offer to help them out, whether by taking on some of their work or just lending a listening ear.
However, when we put others first, we open doors to success that we may not have seen before. Helping others allows us to see the best in people. It’s not just about giving them what they need; it’s about sharing our time, energy, and resources. When we help others, we make the world a better place for all of us. And that’s something in which to take pride.
One of the best ways to be a helpful colleague is to ask how your colleagues are feeling and how their day is going. This shows that you care about them and makes them feel appreciated. It can also help you get to know them better, which can come in handy if you need help with a project later on.
When you take the time to learn what your colleague does and how they do it, you can be more helpful in the future. You may not be able to help with every task, but you can at least be aware of what is going on. This will make it easier for you to step in and offer assistance when needed. Plus, it’s always a good idea to build good working relationships with your colleagues!
Offer help when needed, not just when it’s convenient for you. This shows that you genuinely care about your colleague and their work.
Sometimes, the best way to be helpful is to give your colleague some space. Be respectful of their time and don’t constantly bombard them with questions or requests for help. If you see that they are busy, give them some time to finish what they are working on before asking for assistance.
Be a respectful communicator. When you’re respectful, you’re considerate of the feelings and opinions of others, and you take the time to listen and understand what they’re saying. This can make all the difference in the office, especially when working together as a team.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you’re unsure of how best to help, ask. Your colleague will appreciate your willingness to help and will be able to provide focus.
Being a helpful colleague means being trustworthy. You have to be someone that your coworkers can rely on and be willing to help out in whatever way you can.
Helping Can Backfire
When we see someone struggling at work, most of us instinctively want to help. After all, we know what it feels like to be in over our heads, and we don’t want anyone to feel that way.
However, there are times when offering help can backfire.
We all want to be good colleagues and help out when we can, but there are times when it’s better to let someone else handle it. If you’re not in the right frame of mind to offer help – say, you’re feeling rushed or frazzled – it’s best to take a step back. Authenticity is vital in any relationship, including relationships with our colleagues. If you’re not being authentic with your offers of help, it can come across as insincere or even manipulative. So if you’re not genuinely excited about helping out, it’s better to bow out gracefully. Remember, we all have different strengths and weaknesses, and there’s no shame in admitting that something isn’t your forte.
If we’re not careful, our good intentions can make the other person feel incompetent or resentful. It might be better to step back and let the other person figure things out for themselves in some cases. Of course, this isn’t always easy to do. But if we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll know when helping is truly the best course of action – and when it’s not.
And many of us have that one colleague who always asks for help, no matter how many times you’ve said no. You may get sucked into their “drama” more often than you’d like, and staying focused on your work can be tough. But it’s important to remember that authenticity is critical in the workplace. If you’re not comfortable helping out your colleague, it’s okay to say no. You shouldn’t feel guilty about setting boundaries, and your colleague will respect you for being honest. In the long run, it’s better to be authentic and true to yourself than to try to please everyone all the time.
A Few Notes on Courage
Helping others is not always easy, but it is always worth it.
Helping others can be a courageously-selfless act. It can also require a great deal of courage. We often think of courage as something physical: jumping into a burning building to save someone, for example. But courage doesn’t always have to be a physical act. It can also be mental or emotional. Courage can be simply speaking up when you see someone being mistreated, even if it means risking your safety. It can be standing up to a bully or admitting when you’re wrong. Courage is often about doing something hard, even if you might fail.
To put yourself in a position to help someone, you have to be vulnerable. You have to open yourself up to the possibility of rejection or failure. You have to be willing to risk your safety for the sake of another person. And you have to be prepared to face the potential consequences of your actions.
When we reach out to those in need, we make the world a better place for all of us. So next time you see someone who could use a helping hand, don’t hesitate to offer your assistance. You might make a difference in that person.
Authentic Leadership and Helping
It is not always easy to be authentic in the workplace. The pressure of pleasing your boss or coworkers can leave you feeling like you have to act a certain way even when it doesn’t feel authentic. But, being authentic will help build relationships with those around you and make work more enjoyable for all involved.
Authentic leadership is built on trust. As a leader, I need to be self-aware to develop confidence in my team. I set goals and benefit from coaching to continue to grow and be the best leader I can be. I listen to my team and am in touch with their feelings and needs. These actions help me create a safe and productive environment where everyone can do their best work. My desire to help others make meaningful contributions drives everything I do as a leader. By being authentic, I can build strong relationships with my team and help them achieve their goals.
Many people believe that authentic leaders are always focused on helping others, but what often gets overlooked is that these leaders also build strong collegial relationships. In fact, many experts believe that the two go hand-in-hand.
“You can’t be an effective leader if you’re not willing to help your team grow and develop,” said leadership expert John Maxwell. “And you also can’t be an effective leader if you don’t have strong relationships with your colleagues.”
So what does this all mean? Simply put, the best leaders are both helpers and relationship builders. If you want to be an authentic leader, start by focusing on doing both of these things well.
Being a helpful colleague is about being authentic and genuine. You can start by showing empathy, expressing gratitude, and making time for others. These small actions will help to build positive relationships at work. Honesty is also important – be honest about how your colleagues affect your mood and take responsibility for your happiness. When we focus on helping others, we inevitably help ourselves as well.
Moving to Next Steps
Helping others is an essential trait of a leader. It shows authenticity and courage to be able to help people in difficult situations. It also allows you to understand your motivations for why you want to help people. Pay attention to tricky situations that will test your leadership skills. These can be valuable learning experiences. If you’re going to become an even more effective leader, develop the skill of helping others and be inspired by those who have helped you in the past. Helping others is an authentic act of leadership that will bring you enormous benefits.
Perhaps Oprah Winfrey said it best when she famously quipped, “The biggest adventure you can take is to live the life of your dreams.” And what could be more adventurous than helping others achieve their dreams? When we focus on lifting others instead of tearing them down, we make this world a better place and help ourselves in the process.
It starts with you. And it starts now.