The world is becoming increasingly complex. The result? Only very few of us are able to achieve something great on our own. Most of our achievements are done in teams: groups of people who help each other and therefore are able to create something even bigger that is the sum of their capabilities. Although I am usually not very fond of sports analogies, we can relate what we do to how a sports team performs. If you are into any collective sport (watching on TV counts as well), you have already noticed that the key to success is not having a few star players, but as many team players as possible. A recent study in the NBA showed that excellent team players add up to 60 percent more value to the team than excellent individualistic players. And that is some difference! Helping others starts very simply — stop focusing on what you can achieve on your own and turn your attention to what you can achieve together with others. In some organizations, this might be difficult because of crazy and outright stupid incentive schemes that value individual contributions more than teamwork. Even if that is the case: try it. You will see that it will bring you satisfaction, a sense of accomplishment and, generally, a good feeling.
There are numerous ways to help others. Try asking your colleagues if they want any help from you. You don’t have to be an expert in their domain — sometimes that is even counterproductive. But then what could you do for them? See a colleague stuck? Use any of the following. Ask the person you are helping what kind of help they’d prefer:
If you have the knowledge, you may also try the following.
Help someone else.Try a colleague of yours who is stuck with a problem (partner with that person.) Or a new colleague who needs to learn some of the processes (offer to teach or mentor.) Or somebody whose work you don’t understand, but you know he is unhappy and frustrated (be the rubber ducky.)
Help build a triadic relationship, connecting two people who may be able to help each other but are currently separated (by a process, hierarchy or anything else.)
Make more time to help others. Helping others takes time. Something you might not have much of. So now try to actively make time for helping others.
Get feedback from others. Ask people you’ve helped what it meant to them. And what you can do differently next time. Use that to improve.
If helping others is something you want to do more of, go for it. Today. Every other day. You will be amazed how helping others will help yourself as well.