Photo by Riccardo Annandale on Unsplash

Employers spend much time and money investing valuable resources to find the right employee with the proper mindset and qualifications to excel within their company. Employees expend the same resources with the goal of landing a position within an organization that not only fosters an environment of collaboration and appreciation but will also allow them to successfully contribute using their vast knowledge and skillset. The mutual expectation is that both the employer and employee will develop a long-standing trusting relationship where each gains the best from the other, and both experience growth and expansion. This can translate into high performing teams, maximum productivity, and greater profits for all.

But this often turns out to be more a dream than a reality for many employees. Because too often those in management and executive positions treat individuals within the organization like children requiring constant supervision. Much like helicopter parents hover over children, never allowing them room to breathe, to develop, to learn from mistakes, or to experience growth and expansion as an individual; so too do many in positions of Leadership, believing the successful path is one of delegation, micro management, and constant criticism – loosely translated as Helicopter Management. Only this does not create a well-rounded environment where individuals thrive. Instead it often creates a culture that is plagued with internal issues that flow through an organization and negatively impacts not only employees and management, but also clients, customers, and the bottom line.

Leadership is more than just managing people and their deliverables. Leadership is more than just being the Boss. Leadership is a mindset, a belief system, a way of being where the human element focuses on creation and development, acknowledgment, and inspiration, and fostering a positive environment where individuals feel safe and supported. Leadership is about creating more leaders, focusing on individual strengths, and working together to improve areas of weakness. Leadership is about authentic connection and collaboration, open honest communication, growth, and personal development, and placing trust in others to create, produce, and deliver. Leadership is working alongside others providing guidance and direction, not standing over them barking orders, demands, and delivering a barrage of negative critiques.

People in general, not just employees thrive under leadership. They thrive in environments where they are given the opportunity and the autonomy to perform their best, often exceeding even their own expectations. When employees feel seen, heard, valued, and supported they put forth maximum effort and maximum productivity. They work harmoniously in teams, they go the extra mile without being asked, and they demonstrate why they are the highly qualified employee originally sought out for their position.

Yet, the opposite is true when helicopter management is the norm. This type of management is not leadership, and often creates or instigates toxic unhealthy environments where everyone suffers and few if any thrive. Lack of trust, lack of support, and lack of opportunity coupled with harsh, authoritative, and delegating demeanors from management incite a workplace with greater levels of negative stress, friction, and miscommunication, as well a decrease in performance and productivity. Over time this can negatively affect an organization and its bottom line – profits. As management becomes viewed as hostile, toxic, unforgiving, or too difficult to work with – as an organization is deemed tolerant of insufferable behavior and treatment, the very employees once sought out for their knowledge and skillset will vanish.

Leadership and management do not have to be different sides of the same coin. It is possible to be an effective leader and manage individuals – it takes a certain mindset, a shift in perspective, and a willingness to be a person who recognizes the value in treating everyone with human kindness and decency. Leadership is not for the weak, for those not up to a challenge, or for those who embody a negative energy believing force is power and use it to reign with fear and intimidation.

Leadership – lead by serving and manage by doing.