Lessons in Leadership- Know When to Ask for Help and Support

Since launching this site and really beginning to focus on my writing again, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to surf around, read new things, discover new blogs, and chat up new and interesting people.  It’s really astonishing (and at times overwhelming) to digest the thoughts and passions of so many committed and interesting people from all across the globe, writing about absolutely anything you could think of.

What I’ve discovered is that I do have a unique voice.  I do have a point of view to share. I do have valuable insight, and I hope this blog turns into a helpful tool, whether in helping others find the path to reach their own goals, assisting non-profits better develop strategies for engaing new media platforms, or simply serving as a point of inspiration for other professionals on their own journeys.

What I’ve also discovered is that roughly one billion people are also blogging about new media. Seriously.  Probably closer to two billion.

I hope that this site provides something different.  Rather than focusing exclusively on the latest and greatest social media tool to hit the scene, or only writing about my own path and leadership development, I hope to effectively connect and demonstrate the relationship between non-profits, organizations, and individuals and new media organizing and opportunities.

All this research and thought has first and foremost brought me back to one of the first lessons my parents taught me as a child. Something that I learned as a kid and kept as one of my mantras as I grow and develop in my professional and personal life.  Whatever the situation, whatever the opportunity– true leaders know when to ask for help, guidance, and support.  This is true in a person’s life, their professional responsibilities, and for organizations institutionally.

Going It Alone Often Backfires

It’s perhaps easiest to identify situations where a corporation or organization would have greatly benefited from the advice and assistance from others.  Whether you work in a non-profit and you’re trying to chart your current goals through a strategic planning process, or working toward identifying innovative and new development strategies– truly smart and forward-thinking organizations often bring in outside assistance to improve their chances of success. Consultants work with small, medium, and large organizations in all types of specialized care- strategic planning, relationship analyzation, development assistance, grant-writing– the list goes on and on.  And these organizations that enlist specialized help are often the ones who succeed long-term.

However, when individuals and organizations fail to realize the benefit of collaboration and asking for help, they are very often left in tough situations.  Take, for example, the Leader of the Free World.  Tempers flared during the campaign when rumors arose when then-candidate Obama was working to “de-fund” traditional advocacy organizations and instead funnel campaign donations directly to his campaign.  Many took issue with this tactic, rightly or wrongly, and this insistence to “go it alone” can still be felt today in his presidency.

Much has been made in the queer community over Obama’s in-action in repealing the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” (DADT) military policy which, every day, discharges qualified members of our armed services during a time of war (two wars, actually) simply because of their sexual orientation.  Obama, in so many words, has asked the LGBT community to chill, and insisted that he is “working on it.”  The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the largest organization working to repeal DADT, strongly disagrees and has repeatadly blasted Obama for his inaction in moving the ball forward.  Prominent gay blogger John Aravosis wrote in February,

Obama surrounds himself with people who practice political autarky. They believe so strongly in themselves, and their cause, that they not only think they can accomplish anything (a good trait), they think that they don’t need anyone else’s help along the way (a bad trait). We saw this time and again during the campaign, with poor outreach to the Netroots, to the gay community, to the Hill, to Democrats across Washington.

How does President Obama plan to quickly repeal DADT without primarily engaging a massive national organization whose sole function is to repeal this policy?  Even the Leader of the Free World needs to collaborate, and ask for help, in his many endeavers.

Asking for Help Brings you Closer to Your own Goals

When I created this site, moving to fulfill some of my professioanl goals and ambitions, I was able to pretty easily determine my core skillset, and those tasks which I am simply not able to do at this time.  I’m an ok writer (albeit needing to practice writing shorter posts), I understand and utilize new media like a mavericly wunderkid, and I have exceptional talent for organizing and planning processes for non-profits and organizations.  However, I also understand my great weaknesses-  I have absolutely no idea how to work with HTML.  I have no idea how to manipulate graphics and images.  How do I make a neat header?  No Idea!

lawdork9I do know what I like.  I absolutely adore every gay’s favorite Law Dork’s header.  Look at that thing!  Isn’t it gorgeous?  Fabulously gay and new age and catchy?

I also absolutely Marcos Salazar’s self-branded image. Marcos’ blog focuses on “helping young professionals acquire the knowledge, skills, and psychological intelligence needed to accelerate your personal and career development to create a successful and meaningful life.”

I came upon Marcos’ blog through Dan Schwabel’s (also amazing)  blog on personal branding and instantly fell in love with the image he used to represent himself, his brand, and his work.MarcosSalazar

With both Marcos and my favorite Law Dork, I began following them on twitter, retweeted their interesting posts, added them on facebook, and saved their feeds into google reader. Building these two relationships with others writing and focusing on similar issues and passions I have myself have not only helped me realize my own goals and amibitions, but also brought me closer to dealing with very real and very specific day-to-day practical concerns I had.

When I needed advice on image manipulation, I messaged Marcos. When I need inspiration for my professional work on LGBT issues I swing by the Law Dork. By engaging two very smart and dedicated young men throuh social media, and with Marcos asking specifically for help on a particular issue, I’ve been able to move myself closer to my own goals, and begin to develop meaningful relationships as well.

Learning to Accept and Ask for Help in Personal Situations

I also absolutely love Marcos Salazar’s self-branded image.  Marcos’ blog focuses on “helping young professionals acquire the knowledge, skills, and psychological intelligence needed to accelerate your personal and career development to create a successful and meaningful life.”
I came upon Marcos’ blog through Dan Schawbel’s (also amazing) blog on personal branding and instantly fell in love with the image he used to represent himself, his brand, and his work.
With both Marcos and my favorite Law Dork, I began following them on twitter, retweeted their posts, friended them on facebook, and saved their feeds in my google reader.  Building these relationships with others writing and focusing on similar issues and passions I have myself have not only helped me realize my own goals and ambitions, but also brought me closer to more specficic needs and concerns I have on a very practical level.

When I needed advice on image manipulation, I asked Marcos.  When I need inspiration for my professional work on LGBT issues, I swing by Law Dork.  By engaging two very smart and dedicated young men through social media, and in the case of Marcos, specficially asking for help, I’ve been able to bring myself closer to my own goals, and begin to develop meaningful relationships as well.

Learning to Accept and Ask for Help in your Personal Life

We all need help at some point in our lives.  Whether overwhelemd at work or in a tough-bind, we get into situations all the time where we benefit from the help and support of others- yet too often, we’re hesitant or afraid to ask for the help we need.  I know I certainly fall into the category of wanting to overcome obstables on my own, and for the longest time saw asking for help as a sign of weakness.  Knowing when, and how, to ask your network for support and help is perhaps one of the smartest quality of a healthy person, and leader.  For anyone that knows me personally, they know the past two months have been a physically difficult time, as I’ve been in and out of the hospital, and fighting off medical issues seemingly every day.  Upon arriving in the hospital, the first thing I did was update my facebook status– and within a day I had a long-line of friends visiting my hospital bed day after day.  The moment I was discharged I had friends cooking me dinner, cleaning my apartment, and making sure any added stresses in my life were mitigated.  Had I not simply posted a quick tweet and status update on my situation, I would have lost out on the opportunity to lean on my friends when I most needed to.  I am a strong believer that the one “helped” is not the only person gaining in these situations– the “helper” invariably grows from the relationship.

In all facets of our lives, in most every situation- a healthy person and good leader knows when, and how, to ask for the support and help they need.

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3 responses to “Lessons in Leadership- Know When to Ask for Help and Support

  1. This is a great article. As a realtor, you “go it alone” quite often. It is great to get help and mentorship consistantly. I believe that everyone should have help and a personal coach no matter what level you rise to.

    • Thanks, Adam. That’s exactly the point I was hoping and trying to convey. Whether in your own personal life, or whether you have a small business, or you’re the President– there’s ALWAYS a situation in which it makes sense to ask for, and receive, help. There’s so many reasons, both good and bad, that people don’t always just make the ask. But it’s not only worthwhile, but many times necessary, to lean on others at certain points.

      Thanks for reading 🙂

  2. Pingback: I don’t have time | | Ramblings of a non-conformist | Tomasz Gorecki·

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