Contributed By Allison Graham St. John
Did you know that this parent could also show up in your office?
These helicopter parents are given such a name because they are overly involved in their child’s life, removing much of the child’s responsibility to create their own success. The parenting style is perceived as unfavorable, damaging, and downright micro-managing. Yet, the parent is often acting out of a deep love and wants only to keep to their child safe or to help them succeed.
The same unintentional, negatively-perceived, hovering can happen at the office when we’re not in tune with our talents. We can become a helicopter parent to our employees!
If we’re aren’t regularly self-reflecting on our own strengths and behaviors, or we’re in an unhealthy state, say overworked or tired, we can begin to demonstrate signs of our strength themes’ “basements;” the place where we prohibit our strengths from being most effective.
For example, a leader with the Command theme can be inspirational, direct, and easy to follow, which can create strong leadership and a healthy team environment for employees. Yet, when left unchecked, the Command theme can create ‘basement behavior’ that’s domineering, overly critical, or know-it-all focused, which in turn removes shared accountability from employees and the group dynamic can be stifled.
So, how do we keep our inner helicopter parent in check?
Mindfulness of one’s own behavior could help a leader with high Command elevate their basement behavior to balcony by recognizing when a team member’s behavior is worth criticizing for constructive purposes, versus when it’s tempting to criticize just because it is not how they would have done it.
The basement behaviors of every talent have the potential to negatively impact your employees, but here are a few strengths themes to especially consider since their ‘basements’ lean towards micro-managing:
As leaders, we often act out of a deep commitment to help our employees succeed, just like helicopter parents do with their children. However, if we’re unaware of the pitfalls of our talents we struggle to mitigate the less serving behaviors, become overly involved or smothering, causing damage to our high functioning teams.
Remember, you always have a choice of how you use your talents.
You also have the choice to self-reflect and be aware of your actions.
If you ever find yourself in the basement of your talents, know that it’s temporary; you are always climbing to your balcony to master your strengths.
To help check yourself and help you with your climb to balcony, ask yourself one of these questions:
- Am I using my strengths to promote shared accountability with my team?
- Are my actions aligned with my true intent?
- What support can I ask from my colleagues to help me recognize a basement behavior I may be blind to?
- What can I let go of and control less?