No matter your career choice, you will have a job that requires you to support others. Some times that support will involve a direct request while in other cases, you will need to anticipate the needs of those you work with before you are asking for help.
In college, you are given an assignment and you generally know what is expected of you. On the job, expectations are not that clear. Often the person you are supporting won’t really be able to tell you what he/she needs. Different people can have vastly different expectations. Some can be incredibly fussy, while in other cases the person will accept almost anything that you do.
Here are some things you can do to support the needs of others.
- Ask others in the organization how to best support different people. This is comparable to how you would check out the expectations of a professor in a class at the beginning of the semester.
- When your assignment is unclear, produce something to look at. Then let the person you are supporting react to what you have done. Often this is the only way to develop a final product that meets the needs. What you don’t want to do is constantly ask for guidance.
- Volunteer to help others in the organization when you sense that they are swamped. Also you may have special expertise that can be useful to others.
- When you are on a work team, volunteer to support different tasks rather than waiting to be assigned to tasks. Generally these will be the tasks where you are more likely to excel.
- When you are working with others, try to identify how your strengths can support that person’s weaknesses. For example if the other person is good at dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s, you might be able to help this person with developing the basic idea.
- Learn to read others in order to reach out to them when they seem to be troubled. Often a simple: “Can I help you?” can be very needed for people who don’t like to ask for help.
In most organizations, people are quickly identified as those who continuously take from others and those who give of themselves. You want to be the giver rather than the taker. .