Management Power Or Leadership Safety In One Word – Part II

Last week we reviewed the power or safety on one word. The word “why” may create defensiveness and unintentionally poor communication, as the listener may feel threatened. What is one word that can instead lead to leadership safety? What is a word that builds up the listener, that encourages, creates a safe environment, and opens up dialogue?

That word is “help.”

“We don’t build trust when we offer help. We build trust when we ask for it.” ~ Simon Sinek

When we offer help – with the best of intentions – we indicate we are superior to the listener. We know more, maybe we have greater talents and skills. We offer suggestions and recommendations, ideas that may lead to better outcomes for the other person. We walk or drive away so proud that we helped someone. But our advice and counsel, even if they do result in better outcomes, higher achievement, and improved results for the other person, are unfortunately also ripping up trust. Trust building is the #1 job of a leader and it begins with creating safety in the environment. When we ask for help we are building trust and reciprocity for the listener, as well as indicating 3 powerful things:

Number 1
When we say to the listener, “I could use your help” it subliminally tells them that they are smart, they have capability, knowledge, talents, and skills, and it makes them feel good about themselves. Even if they are feeling down, our simple word “help” says they have value and are able to contribute. That is a powerful feeling and a safe place to build dialogue.

“Our goal as leaders is not to be the smartest person in the room. Our goal should be to have others feel like they are the smartest people in the room.”

Number 2
When we ask for help, we admit our own vulnerability. We admit that we are learners too, that we can learn from other people regardless of their title, money, or position in life. We become learners as we ask for help. And the people we ask for help become teachers. By admitting vulnerability through asking for help, we are saying, “I am human just like you and not a robot who is always right.” Followers will actively and willingly follow openness, kindness, and those who require help, instead of following someone who always has all the ideas or is constantly correcting others. 

“In the battle to be Right or Kind – choose Kind, it’s closer to your values and everyone else’s.” ~ Wayne Dwyer

Number 3
We give the listener a gift, by allowing them to help us. We all love to help, and we want permission to help. I have seen people stop their car in the street to help another person asking for directions. In the mall we see people stopping to help someone find a store. They stop. In a world all about hurry-up, speed, movement, and being in the next moment – asking for help allows others to be more present in the current moment. That builds an environment of dialogue, support, safety, and trust.

“People buy into the leader, before we buy into the vision.” ~ John Maxwell

The word help is more powerful than we know.


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