We’re asked to help in almost every sphere of life — as leaders, colleagues, friends, and family members – but there is a difference between providing help and inflicting it. Even with the best of intentions, sometimes your assistance will just make things worse. Here are three kinds of “help” to avoid giving:
The wrong help. Sometimes the only relief you can give isn’t actually what’s needed – offering management, for example, when leadership is what’s necessary.
The right help at the wrong time. For help to be useful, the recipients must be ready for it. It’s easy to misread openness as an invitation, but providing assistance before it has been asked for is ultimately counterproductive.
The right help, but too much of it. If you offer support and it’s received with gratitude, you may not know when to stop. Stay attuned to recipients’ ability to make effective use of your services, and stop when they’re no longer helpful.
Adapted from “Don’t Inflict Help, Provide It,” by Ed Batista.