Wayne Baker is a professor at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and author of All You Have to Do Is Ask, his sixth book. He directs the Center for Positive Organizations and also co-founded Give and Take Inc., an Ann Arbor-based technology firm. Through Wayne’s research, he has discovered that leaders are often happy to help others, but are unwilling to ask for help themselves. The good news is that you can create healthy environments in your organization where asking for help is encouraged and rewarded.
[2:40] As an avid sailor, Wayne had to learn to not panic when everything went awry.
[5:35] Some people ask for what they want and others take what’s given.
[7:50] Wayne has observed that there are some mentors that want you to be mini versions of them, but he recalls a great mentor of his who was always trying to push Wayne to be a better version of himself.
[11:20] People want to be generous, but don’t always know how to help unless you ask them to.
[12:15] There are four steps to making a thoughtful request.
- What is the goal of your request?
- What are the resources you need?
- Come up with a SMART request.
- And then find ‘who’ you need to ask.
[16:50] Most people will help you if you ask!
[19:25] It’s hard for leaders to be vulnerable and to ask for help. You can break this mold by creating a 15-minute staff meeting addressing what you need help with. When it’s expected that everyone is supposed to ask for help, it makes it easier for leaders to get the support they need.
[25:00] When asking for feedback, it’s important to know what are both your strengths and weaknesses, but you want to get these two pieces of information at different times so that you can better process it.
[26:35] Don’t feel comfortable asking for help? Go out and help others first, and then you’ll feel more confident asking for help in return.
[30:00] Nobody associates Bill Gates with having a partner or a team, but throughout his career, Bill has relied heavily on the partnerships of others.
[32:15] Men have a harder time asking for help compared to women. Wayne believes it has something to do with the way boys and men were raised and socialized.
[35:20] It’s a powerful leadership moment when you ask someone for help and together you co-create a solution.
[36:20] We are living in a time where we get to reinvent work.
[37:00] People support what they help create, so it’s critical to ask for feedback, input, and help.
[39:30] Asking for help now is more important than ever. As more people work from home and feel isolated, reach out to your network, do work lunches together, and be proactive in being connected to your social network.
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Quotable Quotes“The greatest hazard to a mariner is your calendar when you feel you’ve got to be someplace at some time.” Click To Tweet “What I discovered over time: asking is the key to generosity.” Click To Tweet “One of the barriers to making your request is we might assume that people are unwilling or unable to help us.” Click To Tweet “When you know everyone’s going to make a request, it’s a lot easier for you to make a request.” Click To Tweet “By helping other people, you earn the privilege of asking for help.” Click To Tweet “Unless the leader is willing to ask, they’re going to get limited success in getting other people to do it as well.” Click To Tweet “It’s a leadership moment if you ask someone for help and together you co-create a solution.” Click To Tweet
These are the books referenced in Wayne’s podcast episode.
- “Feed Forward: Leadership Excellence,” essay by Marshall Goldsmith
- “Self-Reliance,” essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson
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