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Don’t Be A Hero – The Right Way to Ask for Help at Work


Don’t Be A Hero – The Right Way to Ask for Help at Work

Nobody is perfect, and nobody can do it all.

Sometimes we bite off more than we can chew or we’re simply in over our heads.

Instead of floundering and failing alone or panicking over your work problems, try these ways to act professionally and ask for help:


Ask for a Deadline Extension

Sometimes an extra day or two can make all the difference in making your workload manageable.

While there are occasionally deadlines that are set in stone, most have some flexibility.

Approach your boss and let them know that the workload is more than you had anticipated.

Put a positive spin on it and tell them that you want to take the time do your best work instead of rushing to meet a deadline.

It’s likely that they’ll be pleased that you want to deliver quality work and will often be able to work with you.

Be Honest

It’s tempting to feign illness to buy some time, but it’s always a more professional approach to be honest with your employer when you need help.

The last thing you want is to get caught in a lie, which will only add to your problems.

Approach your boss and be simple and direct. Explain that you’re having a difficult time instead of making excuses.

Recruit Help

Draw on your team members when you’re struggling with a project.

They’ve all been in the same position and will likely be happy to help.

Instead of just venting about your problems, come to them with specific things they can do to help.

It’s easier for them to help when you can provide actionable items, such as data entry, print out materials, or do research on a specific topic.

Create a Proposal

If you need help, the first thing to do is come up with a plan.

This gives you something concrete to present to your boss, rather than looking to them for a solution.

When you can approach management and list things you need help with they’re likely to be impressed with your initiative and give you a break.


When you’re down to the wire on a project or having trouble with a task, push pause on anything that’s not essential.

This might mean skipping Friday coffee with your colleagues or leaving some of your to-do list for next week.

Drill down, focus on what’s really important, and let go of as much as you can to get the job done.

Chances are, your boss will be understanding and would prefer that you ask for help.

People can’t help you if they don’t know that you need it, so take the first step by asking for a hand.