Independence or…interdependence? Do you always ask for help if you don’t know how to do something? I am surprised at how many people don’t…even if someone who knows how to do the task is sitting right next to them. When I ask people why they don’t ask for help, they often say, “It’s my work, and I need to be able to do it independently”.  As well, many people in leadership roles are worried about being viewed as ‘micromanagers’ if they to go to ‘gemba’ to understand what’s going on…even if they know a team member is struggling! They don’t want someone to feel like their independence is being taken away. To me this is backwards thinking. If we don’t help people, how can they possibly learn and grow? And if we don’t ask for help, not only will we miss out on the opportunity to gain new knowledge and skills, but we will also deprive someone else of the joy that comes from helping others! As the world, and our work environment, become more complex and complicated, in order to best serve our customers and create strong communities, instead of striving to be independent, perhaps it would be better if we embraced the fact that what we are – and need to be – is interdependent.

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