Why You Should Not Be Too Quick To Assist Your Coworker



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After reviewing responses from 54 employees, all between the ages of 21 and 60, a very recent workplace study suggests that those who offer aid without any request are less more likely to receive gratitude from their colleagues.


The two kinds of workplace aid

Research had published in the Journal of Applied Psychology examines two major aids common in most offices, they are: reactive and proactive.


The natural go-getters make a point to check on each and everyone in the office and offer assistance however and whenever they can, they are known as proactive helpers. Meanwhile, employees that are willing to help others, but typically do so upon request are known as reactive helpers.

“What we discovered was that on the helper side, when someone engages in help proactively, they often do not have a clear understanding of recipients’  issues and problems, thus they receive less gratitude for it,"



The research also highlights another potential challenge with unsolicited intervention and its effect on performance esteem. Coworkers who accept assistance they didn't request for will not only feel less grateful, but the gesture of implying incompetence is mostly irking, which might in return breed unproductively.  Both the helper and the helped left the situation with lower confidence.

Johnson added: “On the recipient side if people are constantly coming up to me at work and asking if I want their help, it could have an impact on my esteem and become frustrating. I’m not going to feel inclined to thank the person who tried to help me because I didn’t ask for it.”

Volunteering to give help, even with the best intentions is generally seen to be toxic to work culture, but it's also important to establish yourself as a resource person for your colleagues. The point is to be smartly aware of the line between being helpful and condescending.


Guard against completely taking over the situation or the recipient of your help being treated in a patronizing manner. Instead, you should offer some assistance and see if more is needed. Try to always avoid creating the impression that you’re doing someone else a favor so that they’ll do one for you in return.

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