When leaders help, do they help or hinder?

Mike Edwards
5 min readFeb 2, 2019

Yesterday, in my post leaders don’t make it comfortable I confessed to being a fixer. I used to spend a lot of time fixing, as I thought it was good leaders do.

As I was writing yesterday’s post, it struck me that my message might be suggesting that leaders should never respond to a request for help. That was not my intent at all. It is totally appropriate and at times necessary.

Responding to a request for help

When you get a request to help what is your first thought? I’ve seen plenty of well-intentioned leaders jump immediately to action. Their actions can be anything from doing something to evaluating the situation and giving advice.

The danger in jumping to action is you’ll end up owning something you don’t want. When your solution fails, will happen if whatever help you give is seen as advice. Are you ready for the trade you will make when you give advice? When you give someone advice, they will hand you the responsibility for the outcome.

There are unintended consequences to being handed responsibility. You will be blamed if your advice results in something which fails. How many times do you hear “I was just doing what I was told?”

Rather than jumping into action, I would propose you start by pausing. Ask yourself…



Mike Edwards

Executive & Leadership Coach, Blogger, and author of Activate your Leadership