Do You Think You Should Go It Alone?

None of us has gotten where we are solely by pulling ourselves up from our own bootstraps. We got here because somebody bent down and helped us.

—Thurgood Marshall

Greetings Dear Readers,

Most of us are taught to be independent, strong, and self-sufficient, yet the most successful leaders are accepting of the expertise and assistance of others. They know they can’t do it alone, and that they are there to tap the talents of those around them. In an increasingly complex society, we cannot be experts in everything. We need to know what we know and know when we need to seek help. Sometimes our arrogance prevents us from seeking the help we need. Sometimes there is the fear of looking weak or ineffective that keeps us from asking. Oftentimes, organizational cultures frown upon asking for help.


Whatever the reason, not asking for help creates undue stress and makes us less able to cope with the challenges we face.


At work, we may think we need to stand alone and get things done ourselves. Nothing could be further than the truth if we want to be successful. Accepting help can be as simple as asking someone to assist you on a project. It can mean graciously accepting support from an assistant, a colleague, or a boss.

In school, we are often taught not to get help on our homework, or to copy the test

of someone else. At work, we need to break those patterns and turn to each other—work shared is work halved! When we ask for and accept help, we make ourselves exponentially stronger.


About karlinsloan

Karlin Sloan has committed herself to finding out what makes great leaders tick, and to supporting leaders to be the change they wish to see in the world. As a corporate citizen she is an advocate for triple-bottom-line reporting, for creating sustainable ways of working and living, and for creating positive organizational communities that work together for the greater good. She is the author of the acclaimed business book Smarter, Faster, Better; Strategies for Effective, Enduring, and Fulfilled Leadership which has been translated into Thai and Russian, UNFEAR: Facing Change in an Era of Uncertainty, and co-author of the 2012 book Lemonade: The Leaders Guide to Resilience at Work. For more information see or
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