Welcome to another Ask Katrina. The question today is:

“Katrina, how do I ask for more help when I feel like I’m not yet even adding value myself?”

I was having a dialogue with an amazing female executive and ultimately she expressed concern. She recognized that she needs additional headcount on her team to ensure the day-to-day work gets done. However, she doesn’t feel like she has “earned” the ability to ask for help since she feels like she is still learning her role as a first-year exec.

Sound familiar?

As an executive, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. You have a two-fold focus.

First, to keep the company safe.

Second, once the company is safe you want to see it thrive.

Safe means the day-to-day functions of your portion of the business get done without delays, issues, or concerns.

So when you step into your executive role the first assessment you make is: how do I keep the company safe?

At that moment, you may realize you need more hands to do the work.

That’s exactly what happened in this instance with this amazing new exec and yet she’s stressed.

How can she ask for more help when she hasn’t yet figured out how to add value? How does she get additional headcount when she hasn’t yet proven her worth?

What I want to draw your attention to very clearly is this, why would you assume that your value wouldn’t be shown immediately, by recommending additional headcount be added to your team?

Why is that seen as devaluing your leadership as opposed to adding value?

Executive-Level Value Comes from Leadership Not Execution

Think about it.

You stepped into the role and you immediately did your job.

You said, look, “I’ve got to lay a foundation of execution, and to do that, I need additional help to stabilize this portion of the business.”

Aren’t making assessments and using your judgment the primary functions of your role?

That key discovery or distinction is exactly how you start to add value.

Don’t think that you have to roll up your sleeves and do it all.

That’s a director-level or a mid-level leader mindset.

An executive will add value by pointing out the gaps in the foundation of the business and defining how to close those gaps by bringing in top talent.

Now, does that mean that you’re going to get that talent?

No, it simply means you’re going to have to continue to lead at the executive level and start negotiating/influencing.

But you’ve got to ask for it.

That’s the key.

Do not step into an executive role, thinking that you must prove your value by rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself.

Before you ask for help, recognize that asking for the additional headcount and negotiating that request is exactly how you add value as a new executive.

See it for what it is.

Put together your plan.

Map out the whole foundation of your portion of the business (i.e., what must be done to keep the company safe).

Include that headcount in your map and explain why that headcount must exist.

Then, instead of holding yourself back, go be the executive you have been charged with being.

You’ve got this!

When you’re ready for that next level of impact as a first-year executive, join our next first-year female executive cohort getting performance results in 60 days! Click here to learn more and save your seat.

Or, if you’re unsure where to start and want to connect with one of our executive leadership strategists, schedule a call with us HERE.