There are a lot of reasons why someone might refuse help from a colleague.
Some employees prefer to be self-reliant, others don’t want to feel obligated to return the favor, and still others don’t trust their coworkers’ motives. But these attitudes can increase employees’ risk of burnout and hinder social connections at work.
As a leader, you can encourage and recognize collaborative efforts by calling attention to them and explaining how they contribute to the organization’s goals and mission. Be sure to demonstrate your willingness to accept help when you need it; colleaguess are more likely to do it if they see their leaders doing it.
And be careful not to send mixed messages: If employees who go it alone advance more quickly than those who give and receive support, people will pick up on that discrepancy — and they’ll go back to looking out for number one.
Adapted from “Why We Don’t Let Coworkers Help Us, Even When We Need It,” by Mark C. Bolino and Phillip S. Thompson