A huge amount of jobs are based on the desire to help others. For many, this approach makes it easy to imagine their purpose and see value in what they do.
Helping truly is a noble cause.
It also is a tricky cause.
The idea, if not requirement, to be empathic, generous, or compassionate, rarely make it easier. They easily add a one-sided expectation to live up to these attitudes or to expect the from the other.
Take for example this well-written opinion piece. It describes how to have a conversation with someone who doesn’t believe in being vaccinated. Choosing the right answers as described is based on being empathic and being able to see things from the other person’s perspective. At the same time, it is an algorithm decoding how to persuade someone. It is supposed to work without expecting that person to be engaged in the conversation. While this might be effective for such situations, on a day-to-day basis and in a team this doesn’t work.
To make it beautiful, you’ll need two to tango.
This means, that the relationship needs to allow help to be given and to be received.
When starting to help, it is useful to remember four simple questions.
- Do you have a direct request for help?
- Do you want to help that person?
- Do you have the competence to provide the help you have been asked for?
- Is the person receiving the help at least as engaged as you are in doing the work?
Helping is a happy go if you can answer all questions with a yes. If it is a professional relationship, it helps to verify before starting if you are being adequately rewarded for the help you are offering.
The more questions you’ll answer with a no, the riskier it becomes to help. It might still work, however, the situation may quickly degrade and become less and less satisfying.