Creating engagement with a simple “Help me help you”

There is a great scene in the movie Jerry Maguire, where we see a struggling sport’s agent (Tom Cruise) is at his wit’s end with an arrogant, know-it-all athlete (Cuba Gooding Jr.). He is trying his absolute best to get his client a new agreement, but his client is making it difficult. Over the next weeks, they clash with Rod (Gooding) claiming that Jerry (Cruise) is not trying hard enough to get him a contract. In return, Jerry claims that Rod is not proving himself worthy of the money for which he is desiring from him current team. In a key scene (click image to view), Cruise breaks it down to the most simplest element- “Help me help you.”

YouTube link 

As leaders in our organizations, we may have to make a simple, imperative statement to those under us. We find that team members, either in fear or an effort to prove themselves worthwhile, will push you and the company to the edge before asking for help. It is our job to recognize these needs early on so that we can increase their success, grow their knowledge and reduces their failures.

Today’s workforce will tend to turn to YouTube and Google for needed answers, and walk slowly to your door to get to the real answers needed. There is a fine line when it comes to getting to the solution. Here are two typical scenarios that must be managed effectively.

1.     Getting a team member to try to solve a need by either using their knowledge and experience or researching to get to the answer (within a reasonably timeframe).

2.    Going first to your door, or an fellow teammate, when an issue arises without seeking the answer.

When you find a team members, or colleagues, hurting themselves and you feel you can help them attain a solution, the simple statement, “help me help you” can be effective. It doesn’t mean I am going to do this without your help, but instead, it means we’ll work on this together.

Today’s workforce desires collaboration and engagement. There is probably no greater engagement than leading a team member to success in any endeavor, no matter how small it may seem. Be aware of your team’s needs and help them help themselves. This is a great step for coaching your team member to the next level.

Mitch Smith, Founder & CEO of Rootloud

Mitch Smith
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