Competent people are insulted when you try to help them do their job. They think, “You don’t trust me.”
Managers must know when to step in or stay out. Help too quickly and you’re a smothering meddler; delay too long and you don’t care.
When it comes to helping others, their confidence levels matter. Overconfident people crash and burn before accepting help. Under-confident people stall unless they receive help.
Be prepared to help when:
- New threats arise.
- Employees feel isolated or out of the loop.
- Staff feels confused. Your greatest asset is creating clarity. Clarity enables action. Tip toeing through confusion blocks performance.
- People feel under-appreciated. Employees pour themselves out for organizational objectives. Organizations refill employees with compensation, recognition, appreciation, and opportunity.
A key to when:
Frustration tells you when to step in or stay out.
Some are frustrated when you help. Let them struggle. However, don’t leave them hanging. Tell them you are available if they need something and then step away.
Some are frustrated when you don’t help. Explain your reasons for not helping. Give them clarity, permission, resources, training, and timelines to move forward and then step away. You can’t constantly help.
Appropriate levels of frustration enhance performance. Too much frustration stalls performance.
The one reason:
The goal of helping is enabling. Real help takes people to the place where they don’t need help. Any other reason is a dead end.
- Doing things “for” someone doesn’t help.
- Doing things “with” someone helps as long as they grow.
- Letting them struggle helps as long as they are making adequate progress.
Timelines and deliverables may prevent you from taking the time to help. In this case reassign or compensate with added resources or people.
How do you determine when it’s time to help?
Do you tend to help too much or too little?