How To Handle a Lack of Support at Work (And Why It's Important)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated May 4, 2022 | Published October 8, 2021

Updated May 4, 2022

Published October 8, 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

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As an employee, consistent support and acknowledgment can help you succeed. To build a positive work environment, you can build a support system that comprises your managers and teammates. Asking your coworkers to encourage you can increase your confidence as an employee, compel you to persevere through challenges and recognize the initiative you take toward your tasks. In this article, we explain how to respond when you have no support at work, define the importance of asking for support and discuss the steps for making a request to your colleagues.

What can you do if you have no support at work?

A supportive work environment motivates employees, provides hands-on guidance for participating in projects and formally recognizes hard work. If you feel you're not receiving enough support with your job, then consider observing these practices to obtain the endorsement you desire:

Support yourself

Adopt techniques to deliver support independently. When you sense you can benefit from extra positivity, your self-confidence can encourage you to succeed in your work endeavors. You can have a reliable source of optimism whenever you need it. It can also complement the external encouragement that your coworkers give. For example, if your supervisor tells you that you handled a task efficiently, the compliment can only affirm an accomplishment that you've already celebrated internally. Your thoughts and actions are aspects you can control, so consider modifying them for your benefit.

Think about what inspires you and enhances your mood, and implement those techniques into your internal support system. For instance, you can recite positive affirmations to remind yourself that you can overcome obstacles. Another option is to reward yourself when you've acquired a new skill or led a successful project. You can increase your self-awareness by evaluating your own productivity and become a more independent employee by identifying and resolving issues within your role. Although being surrounded by compassionate associates may be significant, developing your own supportive tools can protect your interests regardless of the atmosphere where you're working.

Ask for support

An alternative is to voice your desire for receiving more assurance from your coworkers and supervisors. Prioritizing transparent communication in the workplace can raise awareness about the situation, which presents opportunities to devise helpful solutions. As a professional, your emotional needs may differ from other employees in your department. Requesting support can enable you and your teammates to personalize the encouragement that you give to one another. Consider participating in open dialogue to deepen your work relationships. Try to clarify how you and your peers can work together to create an environment that promotes mental and emotional wellness.

Related: How To Build Good Working Relationships

Why is it important to ask for support at work?

The following reasons indicate the importance of asking for support from your coworkers:

Feeling your presence acknowledged

The acknowledgment of your presence can inform you of how your colleagues rate your performance. Your request for support may motivate them to recognize your successes and overall contributions to the company. When you realize the value of your work, you can approach your assignments with more enthusiasm, since you know your exact role in directing the team to reach its goals. Consider inquiring to your department about celebrating hard work more frequently and naming employees who have especially shown dedication to the organization's mission.

Creating a pleasant work environment

Requesting and receiving support may increase your employee satisfaction. You can be excited about handling your job responsibilities because you genuinely enjoy being a member of the organization. Contemplate asking for additional support so you can feel comfortable in the professional environment. Your teammates can understand how to best communicate with you and listen to your perspectives, and they can learn details about you beyond your job title and duties. When each person on the team is supportive of the needs of their peers, the work atmosphere can be more pleasant.

Related: How To Deal With a Toxic Work Environment

Receiving clarification on assignments

Being an employee is a constant learning experience, so it can be helpful for your colleagues to support you as you acquire new skills and work on your assignments. Asking for extra guidance can enable you to better understand what your manager is expecting from you, which can increase the quality of your work. In a supportive work environment, company leaders are often present and accessible to provide tips and listen to the concerns of employees. Consider requesting the managers in your organization to be a resource when you're seeking clarification on fulfilling your role.

Related: Supportive Leadership: What It Is and How To Develop It

Being encouraged through work challenges

The presence of your supportive coworkers can empower you to maintain a positive attitude, even when you're experiencing challenges in the workplace. Examples of hardships include making a mistake on one of your tasks and participating in a project that fell short of reaching your goals. By asking for support, you can receive assurance that your performance as an employee can improve in the future.

Your teammates can also encourage you as you strive to strengthen your abilities and increase your confidence. Your efforts at work may not always go as planned, but it can favorable to have a source of support to assist you in persevering.

How to ask for support

Follow these steps to ask your colleagues to support you in the workplace:

1. Perform a self-evaluation

The first step is to contemplate the type of support that can benefit you. Think about your reasons for making the request and the best ways to communicate your needs to your coworkers. You can also ask yourself why your work environment has yet to meet those needs. Perhaps there's a shortage of employees at your company, and your teammates have been busy with extra assignments until your manager hires a new associate. Another reason can be the transition to remote work has made it more challenging to connect with your coworkers than it was when you physically worked together.

A self-evaluation also entails pondering your performance as an employee. Consider the contributions you've made to the organization recently. You can determine if you're making yourself available in the workplace to receive the support. For instance, recall occasions where you've prioritized meeting with your supervisor or collaborating with your coworkers. It can be helpful to strategize how you can help build a more supportive organizational culture before you ask your teammates to support you. If you want to ask for extra guidance, then prepare to deliver encouragement to others so everyone can feel acknowledged.

Related: How To Support Millennials in the Workplace

2. Explore your options

The second step is to explore all your options for obtaining the assistance or acknowledgment you need. Reviewing alternative plans can help you solve the problem yourself before you ask someone else. You can also identify beneficial resources to use the next time you encounter an issue in the workplace. For example, a new professor has trouble adding content for virtual courses. Before asking the department head for help, the professor consults the school website and finds tutorials on creating online tests. Now she's found the support elsewhere, and she knows where to look for help in the future.

Exploring your options can also enable you to confirm your feelings, which can increase your confidence in asking for support. For instance, a social media coordinator launches a campaign that triples engagement, but his director didn't congratulate him on his success. As an alternative, the coordinator reviews the employee newsletter and finds a formal recognition of his campaign, giving him the praise that he wanted. It may be beneficial to be diligent in devising your own solutions. When you make your request, you can have the assurance that you've done all you can.

3. Specify your request

If you conclude you want to ask for help, the third step is to specify your needs to make it easier for your colleagues to fulfill them. Explain how their encouragement can motivate you to complete your job duties and overcome work challenges. You can also suggest ways they can assist you. Here are examples of specific requests for support:

  • "I'm still adjusting to my new role, and I believe it would benefit me to learn what areas I'm doing well and others where I can improve. Would you be willing to deliver my feedback via email so I can reference your suggestions when I'm working on my next task?"

  • "My teammates and I submitted our best work for the last project, but we found it challenging to stay productive with our plans constantly changing. Is it possible that we can start meeting weekly to discuss updates so we know exactly how to proceed?"

  • "When your opinion differs from mine, can you let me know? I realize I can learn a lot from you, and I want to make sure we discuss everything so we have a thorough plan for our project."

  • "Our division has consistently surpassed our quotas for three consecutive months, but the chief officers of the company seem to be unaware of our feats. Can we add a section for employee recognition in the monthly newsletter to promote our success throughout the company?"

  • "I have some thoughts I'd like to share about our new company policies, and I think it would be helpful for my coworkers to hear my perspective and express theirs, too. Can we reserve 15 minutes at the end of the assembly meeting for open discussion?"


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