Nottingham’s premier sales and marketing firm this week addressed a taboo question often asked by bosses and the negative impact it can have on their teams; “How can I help you?”
First Face Ltd. has been outlining this with its workforce as it seems like a pretty harmless question, after all how could asking to give help ever be a bad thing? However, research has shown how this is, in fact, one of the most unhelpful questions any leader can ask a team member, despite it being a universally well-intended and frequently used phrase.
First Face Ltd. has discovered how, albeit unknowingly, many managers are making this common error. The three key reasons “How can I help you?” is particularly unpopular are as follows:
1) It is lazy
Asking this question firmly plants the ball in the other person’s court and comes across as lazy. Rather than offering ideas or suggestions, the individual who asks “how can I help you?” is relying on the other person to do the hard work for them.
2) It is vague
By not specifying how and in what area they may be able to assist, managers are unintentionally forcing their team members to provide a list of potential tasks that require help. This poses problems for the person answering, such as, what area of business needs help? What projects need looking at? What kind of feedback are they looking for? It can be quite overwhelming and unhelpful.
3) It puts piles on the pressure
Hearing “how can I help you?” from the boss can be interpreted as “what can I be doing differently that would help you?” This can be incredibly daunting; the manager in question is essentially asking for holes to be poked and flaws to be exposed, and certain individuals may not be comfortable feeding such critiques back to their boss, in fear of how it will be received.
After evaluating its various misinterpretations, First Face Ltd. has been making a concerted effort to avoid asking “How can I help?” and instead posing more supportive, less open-ended questions.
A spokesperson for the company revealed how it has been making a conscious effort to consider the following from now on:
– Specifying what an individual can help with, and perhaps suggesting an area to focus their assistance on.
– Offering critiques of personal actions before waiting to see if someone else within the company brings it up – and consequently, is made to feel uncomfortable
– Speaking up and sharing what can potentially be made better, as this allows the other person to provide a more honest and accurate response about what they think could be improved
In the interest of avoiding awkward exchanges with its workforce by asking the wrong questions, First Face Ltd hopes this conscientious study into the “How can I help you” dilemma will educate the company and encourage them to start asking the right questions.
First Face Ltd. is a direct marketing agency that provides businesses with efficient and cost-effective marketing campaigns. The firm uses face-to-face interactions to build a strong client base for their client’s brands to develop brand loyalty, brand awareness and customer acquisition.