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  • Nick

Why do business owners never ask for help?

Over the last few years, we have noticed a particular trait in some of our employees, no matter what, they never ask for help, never stick their hands up and say – I have a problem and I need help with it. What they will do instead is hide, get their heads down and hope that the problem will just go away the problem is we all know that the situation doesn’t magically go away.

They hide, they don’t do anything about it, they might mention a vague issue in passing at the end of a meeting or zoom call, but will never just say, ‘Help’. This has led to massive frustration and confusion from us as business owners as to the behaviour of the employee, with the most common response being ‘why didn’t they just ask?’ – rest assured we don’t run an evil dictatorship and (I think) we look after and care for our employees and and remembering back to my previous blog (see link if not) – we satisfy ourselves that our employees don’t want to kill us, so it has to be something else.

The kicker here is that business owners are probably the worst at asking for help, they get their head down and they just work harder; I know as I have lived with one for 20 odd years and she is a bugger for never asking for help. Obviously, she wants her team to ask for help but never does herself and living with that kind of double standards does seem to be par-for-the-course.

I think it goes back to the skills and work rate that made them successful act as a kind of blinder, and that repeating the same behaviours will allow them to get over any obstacle and any problem in business. Almost like obstinance is an armour and an answer to any problem.

I want to suggest another way, and instantly I can hear you business owners switching off and screaming that getting anywhere is about staying on the path and working harder. Of course, this is true to a point, and that point is when things aren’t going as they should, when your plans don’t match reality and the your life doesn’t make sense anymore.

This could be a shift in the market, it could be that business sentiment has changed but really if things have changed – then maybe you need to change as well. Look at things in a different way and actually ask for help. Here is a little test; Just shut your eyes and think about what it would feel like to ask for help? Do you feel uncomfortable, do you instantly answer ‘there is no one to ask’ or do you have a warm and fuzzy feeling about actually getting someone to help you out and taking some of your stress away?

If the answer is ‘yes’ to any of the above, then maybe we should talk? Talk about why you feel that no one can help or ask why you feel uncomfortable to ask someone. Normally, the reasons are fear of failure, being seen as weak or not being able to be vulnerable, although in my years of experience it can be a mixture of these plus things from your past that have moulded your behaviours.

It is a very brave thing to do – to ask someone for help, to say that you don’t have all the answers and that you actually need assistance. If the idea of asking a partner or friend is too much then speak to us at the Mind Mechanics. We offer confidentiality, plus we are based in a business park so you look like you are going to a meeting. We are experts at building trust with our clients plus we have years of being a business owner so we speak your language. Call us on 01386 571 114 or 01905 671 264 or book directly below.

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