Do You Manage Helicopters? Quit Being a Control Freak and Trust Your Remote Staff

Supervisors often feel compelled to monitor their employees to ensure efficient task completion. These “helicopter managers” are responsible for closely supervising their staff, a style of management that transcends traditional office spaces, also extending to telecommuting scenarios.

Understanding the Concept of Helicopter Management

Managers who practice micromanagement often struggle with trusting their team, leading them to question whether they are sufficiently monitoring their staff. While bullying tactics may appear to result in a higher output, this is not always the case.

They are frequently labelled as “helicopter managers” or “micromanagers.”

Initially, the term “helicopter manager” was coined for parents dealing with young people, rather than employers. The concept of a “helicopter parent” was first introduced by Dr. Haim Giott in his 1969 best-selling book Between Parent and Teenager. He used the phrase to describe a mother who monitored her daughter’s every move.

The term “helicopter parent” later came to be associated with parents who are excessively involved in their children’s lives, showing excessive interest in every issue.

In the world of business, a broad understanding of a situation is termed as a ‘bird’s-eye view.’ The conduct of a ‘helicopter boss’ mirrors the characteristics of a “helicopter parent.” Managers who monitor their staff closely and do not permit them to work independently are prime examples of this.

I don’t believe there to be any issue with displaying concern for one’s staff. Why wouldn’t we want to verify their work to ensure it’s satisfactory?

Determining the appropriate level of supervision and inquiry for remote staff can be difficult, as it may lead them to feel devalued and isolated. However, a lack of attention on your part could lead you to be an overbearing remote manager, which could harm your remote team’s efficiency (as well as their well-being).

Ramifications of Excessive Involvement with Remote Teams

Remote work provides several advantages, including being one’s own boss and having control over one’s schedule. However, it’s important to acknowledge the various issues that come with managing a dispersed team. By being mindful of these obstacles, one can maximize the benefits of remote working.

As a thriving remote team leader, comprehending the significance of structure, communication, and enthusiasm is critical in steering a business in the correct direction. Nevertheless, ensuring that all team members are working to their full capacity without becoming fatigued or disgruntled can be challenging. Creating a constructive and productive work environment is one approach to accomplishing this; however, leaders must also assess if their current leadership approach is the most efficient one.

Micromanagement is a prevalent issue, and many leaders unwittingly practise it.

Studies have found that employees working under managers who follow a ‘helicopter’ management approach display lower levels of productivity and creativity compared to their counterparts working in different settings. This type of management entails an excessive level of micromanaging and questioning, which may cause employees to feel that their work is underappreciated or not up to par. Additionally, continuous interference in an employee’s work can indicate lack of faith in their competence.

These problems can have severe consequences for businesses that operate remotely. Employee burnout, high stress levels, and low engagement can all be traced back to the lack of trust between remote teams and managers who believe it’s necessary to constantly supervise their employees.

(Click here to read more about remote work and its effects on employees).

According to Gallup, unengaged employees exhibit the following attributes.

  • 37% rise in absenteeism
  • 18% reduction in productivity
  • 15% drop in profits

Unengaged employees are a financial burden on the company, adding an additional cost of $3,400 for every $10,000 in annual salary.

5 Signs You’re Overmanaging Your Remote Team

When contemplating your leadership approach, it can be useful to interview yourself to ensure that you are managing your remote team to the best of your abilities. You could be positive about your skills as a remote team leader, or you may have never considered whether your methods are efficient.

Here are the 5 warning signs of a micromanager and ways to avoid falling into this category:

The problem lies with your incapacity to delegate as a manager.

More power to you! Why? Because no one else can fill your shoes.

Despite your gut feeling, it’s crucial to trust in your team and their skills. To ensure that you have the best individuals on your team, establishing a dependable process for hiring and selecting new personnel is essential. Taking a careless approach is not advisable since there’s no guarantee that the ideal candidate will be available the next time around.

When recruiting for remote positions, take into account more than just technical competencies. It’s crucial to verify that the prospective employees have the essential abilities to work autonomously, communicate efficiently, and manage their own schedules. Ensure that they align with the values and principles established by your company.

Hiring top-notch personnel is crucial to establish a reputable image. Additionally, recruiting individuals with more expertise than yourself is advantageous since it promotes the generation of innovative ideas. It’s crucial to acknowledge that while you may be the leader, a thriving organization requires the combined contributions of all staff members.

To eliminate this warning sign, it’s recommended to delegate responsibilities to your staff. Begin by assigning smaller tasks and closely monitoring the performance of your team members.

You feel the need to approve everything

You see yourself in a similar position as Heimdall from Asgard, who is in charge of observing and safeguarding the Bifrost. In essence, you assume the role of protector for the confidential matters, projects, and operations within the virtual office, remaining unnoticed by those who are unaware.

Nothing will occur without your authorization.

If you have a small team or operate a startup, it’s reasonable to take a keen interest in critical matters and provide final approval. However, in larger organizations with numerous staff, relying on one person’s authorization can be inefficient and viewed as a lack of confidence in their capabilities. To exhibit trust in your workforce, it’s advantageous to delegate authority to those who have previously proven their ability to work competently and devotedly under pressure.

You feel the need to be in charge of all your projects.

As the leader, it’s crucial to guarantee that initiatives are progressing according to expectations. Without adequate oversight, projects may fail to achieve the intended results. However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that holding staff accountable may generate a stressful and uneasy environment.

It’s crucial to recognize that individuals differ in terms of personalities, work styles, and processing speed. As a result, one should not assume that everyone operates at the same pace as themselves, irrespective of whether they are an early riser or a night owl. Rather than constantly requesting updates, scheduling a weekly meeting to review progress and become more acquainted with each other’s work habits can be helpful.

Employing project management software, such as Trello or Basecamp, can aid in gauging the progress of a project or identifying areas where a team member could benefit from support.

You’re constantly dissatisfied with everything

You find nothing your staff does satisfactory, consistently feeling compelled to correct them, as if they’re always deficient in some way.

As a manager, you hold the responsibility of informing staff when their task performance falls below the required standard. However, in most instances, they do an exceptional job. If you believe that further improvement can be made, it’s crucial to ask yourself the following question:

  • Has the objective for the task been achieved?

If this is so, you may cease excessively criticizing your staff and move on to other tasks.

Meeting discussions that are completely one-sided

Are you accustomed to talking without receiving input from your team during Zoom meetings? If that’s the case, perhaps it’s worth considering revising the structure of your virtual meetings.

Organizing virtual meetings can be an excellent way for teams to collaborate and verify that everyone is on the same page. It offers an ideal platform to establish the scope of an initiative and produce ideas to enhance it. However, it’s crucial to recall that allowing just one person to dominate the discussion is counterproductive and can dampen the morale of other team members who might have valuable insights to provide.

Introducing icebreaker questions at the beginning of meetings is one approach to tackle this issue.

  • A brief inquiry: how is everyone coping?
  • Which cartoon do you prefer between American Dad and The Simpsons? For instance:

Requiring Assistance with Managing a Remote Team?

Leading remote teams is not a skill you can learn in a day. It necessitates a diverse range of expertise, tools, and strategies.

Being a remote staffing firm, we comprehend the difficulties that many organizations encounter when seeking to hire the appropriate individuals. Particularly during these unpredictable times, tracking remote workers can be a challenging job. If you’re having trouble finding and recruiting the right candidate for your remote team, we’re here to lend a hand. Please feel free to contact us without hesitation.

Join the Top 1% of Remote Developers and Designers

Works connects the top 1% of remote developers and designers with the leading brands and startups around the world. We focus on sophisticated, challenging tier-one projects which require highly skilled talent and problem solvers.
seasoned project manager reviewing remote software engineer's progress on software development project, hired from Works blog.join_marketplace.your_wayexperienced remote UI / UX designer working remotely at home while working on UI / UX & product design projects on Works blog.join_marketplace.freelance_jobs