The Armour of Self Reliance

As leaders some of us have been over-schooled in the philosophy of self-reliance, independence and competition. It is not always obvious that we have adopted this philosophy because we often describe self reliance as being successful, personally effective and dependable. You will be able to spot if you have adopted this philosophy because the chances are you will find it very difficult to ask another for help.

I think we would all agree that our workplaces require a positive exchange of energy, assistance and good relations with our colleagues, but an aversion to asking for help causes the opposite, it causes separation, isolation and impacts on the culture of the organisation.

When we ask for help we are creating a space where others feel valued, connected and secure in their position. If we miss out on the pleasure of helping another, and allowing others the pleasure of helping us, we are not only depriving ourselves of the long term benefits of generosity and caring but creating a culture where isolation and separation are part of the DNA of the organisation.

The trick to being able to ask for help is having the self awareness to recognise the engrained belief that being a leader means you have to be self reliant, have all the answers and to know what you are doing. To ask for help requires you lay down the armour of self reliance and admit that you are human, fallible and sometimes completely out of your depth. Only when you have the humility to touch this vulnerable part of who you are do you have the freedom to choose how you move forward.

By the way, when you do ask, you may get a “yes” or a “no,” but in either case, it is important to celebrate because you will have taken an important step in challenging your beliefs about self reliance.

This week’s self awareness raising question; As a leader, how often do you ask for help when you are genuinely struggling?

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