Thursday, July 19, 2012

Get To The Choppa!

You've seen them in your personal life. Whether it's a sporting event, concert, or some other public gathering they're never too far away. Ever. Always hovering, monitoring, constantly giving feedback and their children. This group of well-intended but sadly off-base people are commonly referred to as helicopter parents.

I understand...sort of...the need to be there for your kids in this way. However, as parents one of our primary responsibilities is to prepare our children for life after they live with us. Letting go, a little bit, while they're still growing and learning is part of the process.  Or at least its supposed to be.

Don't Be That Parent...At Work
While it may be understandable that some parents are control-freaks, it is never okay to be a control-freak leader. Let me say that again...

"It is never okay to be a control-freak leader. Ever."

Here's a painful lesson I've learned in my career that is worth sharing. Its not about you or me. The work gets done because we've worked with good people on our teams who are dedicated to their professions, organizations, and sometimes us as leaders.

Sure, we need to create an environment where our employees can maximize their impact, or find new employees that can. But at the end of the day work is a team sport, not a solo performance.

How About You
Do you still believe that if you didn't check, double-check and then check everything once more the work would never get done the right way? Really? On second thought please keep it up...I'd love to recruit your talent over to my team...apparently they have no reason to stay where they are.

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit


  1. Jay - great post! It seems so simple yet so complex doesn't it? The control freak mentality comes down to trust. At the end of the day, these types of "leaders" really don't trust in the talents and abilities of their folks. They are probably used to getting short term results this way, and worse still, have been rewarded for doing so - ie nice quarterly results, etc. However, the damage that is done long(er) term is where the true picture lies. As much as I wish this was/is a generational thing it isn't. It is our role as HR professionals to continually coach our executive teams and supervisory teams on enabling and enpowering their people.

    PS - Nice Schwarzenneger (sp ?) reference!

    1. Thanks Scott. You've hit the nail on the head with "trust." It starts and ends right there. Good catch on the title...actually stolen from a song title that uses Arnold as a character...

  2. Love this post! I have a 2.5 year old and already find myself having to let go a little so he can learn to do things for himself - even if that means he spills his juice in order to learn that's what happens when you turn your cup over...

    In work, I just had to give this feedback to a client. While lamenting that his employees were not being proactive I had to share feedback that maybe they would be if he gave them a little more freedom. It was a tough conversation, but worth it in the end as he realized what he was doing.

    Thanks for writing this one!

    1. Thanks Sabrina. Kudos on working with your little guy and letting him learn! As for your client, I'm sure that was a difficult meeting, but it sounds like it was well worth it.

  3. That’s a great post Jay. My first time checking your blog posts & they’re awesome!
    You wonderfully and ‘differently’ talked about “micro-managers”. Sure – leaders need to give some space to get best results from the team - makes them accountable as well. And to Scott’s point on “trust” – absolutely – it starts & ends there, as you said.

    That gives us some food for thought, though. Leaders must recruit the right fits for their team. I believe in recruiting for the “attitude” & if they have that, they can be trained (if needed) and will be able to deliver. That being said, the onus lies on the team members to build that trust. I think that’s 1 of the key points here.

    1. Thanks for the kind words. I agree...we need to have the skill to bring the right people onto our teams, and then support them to build the culture (and get the results) we need.