Get help to resolve a problem at work

As much as we like to think that we can cope with anything life – and work – throws at us, there are times when we all need to ask for help to resolve an issue.

As a working mum, we often want to demonstrate to our managers that we are just as capable of coping with work as we were before we had children, and can sometimes be afraid that asking for help is a sign of weakness. But knowing when to ask for help shows confidence and maturity and helps you to get the assistance you need to resolve an issue more quickly and effectively so you can move on.

When to ask for help

While being able to rely on your own professional and personal resources is great, there comes a time when we all need to ask someone for help. This time may be:

  • When a problem is affecting your home life.
  • If a problem has remained unresolved after a few weeks.
  • When you’ve unsuccessfully tried to resolve the problem.
  • When you can’t see a positive way to resolve it.
  • If you think the issue is part of a bigger problem (such as bullying). 

How to ask for help

Once you’ve decided that you need to ask for help, and are sure that you’ve exhausted all other avenues, you need to think carefully about the best person to approach. It may be a friendly colleague, your manager, their manager or someone in HR.

Tell the person you need to talk to them in private and ask them when is a good time – don’t just ambush them. If you’re not sure what to say or feel very emotional about the issue, try practising your chat with your partner or a colleague beforehand.

When you discuss your problem outline it calmly and clearly, and explain the impact it is having on your work or home life (or both). If you feel yourself getting upset, ask for a moment to take a deep breath gather your thoughts.

Listen to your manager or colleagues’ suggestions, and be open to different solutions. They may have a different perspective on the issue which can help you find a new way to come to terms with it, or resolve it. if they suggest a practical solution, agree to try it and meet again to see if it has had the results you want.