The 3 kinds of helpers

Image result for helping othersSome months ago I had a pull a presentation and some analysis together quickly and needed information from a few different folks to make it happen.

Each of them just had to (more or less) tell me things they already knew or point me to folks on their teams who had exactly what I needed. All of them were ~peers.

These three people showcased the three kinds of helpers I've generally found in big companies.


  • The "Here you go": This is my favorite kind of colleague. This person (let's call him/her Person A) gave me what I needed a minute after I'd asked them, asked me if it was useful and if they could do anything else. They sent me two other related links a minute later.

    A couple of minutes after that Person A asked me what I needed this information for, and I was happy to tell them. Person A then told me of one other thing that they thought might have been relevant.

    I'm definitely going to ping Person A the next time I have a question, and I hope I get to work with them more.
  • The "Gatekeeper" or the "Hmm.. first tell me what you want it for":
    Person B also gave me the information I needed, but only after asking me what I needed the information for and requested that I share the materials I would be using this in. I would have given Person B some leeway since I've been bitten by people misinterpreting/misusing information I've given them before but Person B did the same thing to me a few weeks earlier. This seemed to be a habit.

    Person B eventually gave me what I needed and was helpful, but only after they could meet with me to understand what I would be using this for which meant I got it later in the day and needed to stay later than I would have.

    Person B subtly suggested I keep them updated on my initiative and tried to think of ways - admittedly very smoothly - that they get some credit for it.

    I think Person B will do well in their career, and is a good person to have on your team because they're good at what they do - but I will always think twice before asking them for help. 
  • The "Ignorers":
    Person C never got back to me.... ever;  even to apologize for not getting back to me.

    I had to work around them, and even though I know Person C is good at what they do and likely just decided this wasn't worth their time to think about, it has meant that my instinct will always to be to hesitate to pull Person C into anything I'm working on going forward. 
Part of being a team is helping each other. Creating a culture where more people are like Person A is the way the workplace is better for everyone in it and collectively we get more things done. 

So the next time, someone asks you for help decide what kind of helper you are. :-) 

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