Study: colleagues can not be helped if they do not ask

    If you think that an active offer of assistance to colleagues is good, then you are mistaken. A new study of management specialists from the University of Michigan showed that it is better to keep yourself in hands until you are asked directly. And if you yourself offer assistance, then be prepared for the fact that you will not be thanked for the service rendered. Researchers have found that the active offer of assistance is in fact often toxic to both parties.

    New scientific work is based on the findings of a previous study.2016, which proved that helping colleagues leads to the depletion of a particular employee who demonstrates “too social” behavior. An employee with such a motivation does not find the strength to refuse when he is asked for help, and therefore more susceptible to burnout.

    Now the authors have set a goal to explore a slightly different aspect: what types of assistance are there and what results do such social interactions bring.

    Lead author of the scientific work, professor of management Russell Johnson (Russell Johnson) explains that there are two main types of assistance to colleagues: proactive and reactive. They differ in whether this assistance was requested by those who receive it.

    If you are actively offering help to others, this is proactive help. If an employee comes up to you and asks for the help you give him, this is reactive help.

    “We found that on the part of an assistant who offers proactive assistance, he often doesn’t have a clear understanding of the problem, so he receives less gratitude,” saidJohnson - On the part of the recipient of assistance, if people constantly come to me at work and ask if I need help, this can affect my self-esteem and lead to frustration. I am not going to thank the person who tried to help me if I did not ask for it. ”

    Johnson and colleagues surveyed 54 employees aged 21 to 60 who worked full time in various industries, including manufacturing, government, healthcare and education. They collected data for 10 days, receiving a total of 232 daily observations. Based on this array of information, we evaluated the cases of daily assistance, receiving gratitude, perceived positive social impact and involvement in the work of all participants in these interactions.

    Answers of respondents proved that proactive assistance harms both sides, albeit for different reasons. The recipient of assistance in this case decreases self-esteem, and the assistant receives less thanked in his address.

    “Proactivity can have a toxic effect, especially on the person involved. He leaves, receiving less gratitude from the person he helps, which makes him feel less motivated at work the next day. Most often, aid recipients do not express gratitude immediately, which makes gratitude meaningless, as it relates to the actual action of the helper, explains Johnson. “As for the person who receives indisputable help, he begins to doubt his own competence and feel a threat to his independence in the workplace.”

    From the results of the study we can draw several conclusions. It turns out that if you want to humiliate a person, then actively ask how to help him. The more often this is done, the lower the employee’s self-esteem will be and the more stress he will experience.

    On the other hand, if the employee really agrees to accept your help, then you yourself may become a victim, because you will spend efforts, but you may not receive thanks in return. The “humiliated” recipient of assistance will still be unhappy.

    Johnson's research shows that in some sense it is better for each worker to do his own business and not to go into other people's business without asking. It would seem that this is a logical behavior and everyone should adhere to such rules. But in reality, there are often “too” sympathetic and kind colleagues who always question you about business and try to help with advice, although in fact they are very superficial in their questions.

    “If you really want to help, just sit and do your job. In this case, you will get the most out of your actions, - said the professor. - As a person receiving assistance, you should at least express gratitude - and the sooner the better. If you wait a few days, it will not have a positive impact on the assistant. ”

    Johnson's next study will examine the consequences of receiving help in terms of its recipients, as well as how their reactions and feelings can shape the social climate at work.

    Johnson's previous studies with colleagues focused on other interesting topics:

    A scientific article on the toxic nature of proactive aid was published on September 3, 2018 in the Journal of Applied Psychology (Journal of Applied Psychology), doi: 10.1037 / apl0000346.

    Also popular now: