The bluff is alive and well in corporate life. It permeates to a level that few are willing to acknowledge. An armchair analysis suggests that the bluff is alive because each needs to project confidence in one’s ability to do the job. After all, we are qualified. We should know, right?
I recently met a colleague who put aside the bluff, if only for a few hours. I would not suggest that he let go of it totally, but he did ask for help. It did not start out that way. The bluff was played out in and out of the office with an ease that only comes with time. By the time we got to the request, the problem statement was easy to see. As we talked about the challenges he faced our confidence in our shared understanding grew. After a long pause, the request for help came.
“What are your views? Are you willing to sit with the team and talk with them about it?”
It was the invitation I had been waiting for. I was and am willing to help. My intent was to help him and the team succeed. Their success is the outcome that motivates me to stay involved. My natural tendency is to help first, but life likes to remind me that help is effective when the recipient is looking for it. Until the request is in, most help is squandered.
I continue to reflect on the sequence. The lingering feeling that helping left with me is a wonderful touch of Hope. It reminds me that candor is a precursor to asking and receiving help. I can see examples of different people across time taking a bold step in being candid to those around them. In another situation, two friends were extraordinarily candid. Hope stood up in the room! In an old story, the lead character said, “I called out to you, God; I laid my case before you:” (Psalm 30.8) Great things followed.
I hope I see candor today, if only in my life. Hope lives on by choice.