Build a Collaborative Culture by Asking for Help

The title of this post is incredibly misleading; There is much more that goes into building a collaborative culture than simply asking for help. But, I must admit that asking for help is a meaningful start. Although I strive to serve others in all I do, I also have come to understand that we must be willing to ask for help first before others feel comfortable reaching out to us.

Many of us hear metaphors that include:

– Life is a “give and take.”
– “You give before you get.”
– “You must sow the seed before you reap the harvest.”

Although these sayings have meaningful intentions, after years of hearing “always give first,” you begin to feel guilty when asking for even the tiniest assistance. Furthermore, sometimes we even feel weak or inferior if we ask for help; As if one person can somehow know all of the answers to life. We cannot do it alone; We need each other.

I have found that by asking others for genuine guidance, you start to heighten the comfort level between you and your peers. Giving to others can include providing others with resources, suggestions, time, effort, and your heart. It can even be established by asking a question to gather feedback, like, “What would you do in this circumstance?” or “I see that you are really successful with _________, do you have any tips that you could share?”

By asking for help, you can also show interest in another person. In addition, you can build a culture where people conclude that “If he/she feels comfortable asking for help, I am going to feel at ease asking him/her for help next time.”

Everyone deserves to feel heard and it all begins with us.

It may sound over-sentimental, but try asking a colleague a question that you may not usually talk to, or pick their brain for essential insight that could improve your teaching practice. You will be astonished to see how new friendships can build and how your school culture may launch to the next level with the beginnings of one small act.

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  1. Love it, Kara! Asking for help is one of the most powerful, yet all too often overlooked leadership strategies. We as school leaders must embrace and ask we can’t know everything and are truly stronger together. I’ve never lost sight of my own first grade teacher, Mrs. Stapleton, and her instilling the power of “you’ve got to ask, Brendan” in me all those years ago. I can still hear her words in my head today — embrace asking. Great blog post, pal! KOKO (keep on keeing on) #YouMatter -Brendan

    1. Brendan, Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful response. It can be so incredibly difficult to put yourself out there and ask for help- but it makes all the difference. I love how your 1st grade teacher helped to instill this in you.

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