Blog: 5 ways you can handle helicopter boss

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5 ways you can handle helicopter boss

Do you have a boss who intrudes in your work with suggestions you can do without? Do they change, improve or manage details to the level of correcting your stylesheet? Find out how you will manage them.
5 ways you can handle helicopter boss

Ritesh was all gung-ho about joining a new organization. He was looking for a change for some time, and the break couldn’t have happened at the right time. He had just become a proud father, and his new job was like icing on the cake. The role had challenges, and would also chart a career path which he had dreamt of. But his dream was short-lived. Soon after he joined, he could sense that all the nitty-gritties of his work chart are being monitored and micro managed by none other but his boss. 

The boss used to hover around (the name Helicopter boss derives from there) over Ritesh on every project, managing the details, tweaking, improving and ‘making it better’. Ritesh found out that the intention of his boss was not to undermine him or his subordinates but the excessive intrusion was making him and others in the team demotivated and unproductive. His team-mates also confided that too much micromanaging from the boss was making them feel inadequate and not utilized.  

Reports Forbes, "In his book My Way or the Highway: The Micromanagement Survival Guide, author Harry Chambers reports that 79 percent of those surveyed said they’d been micromanaged at one time or another. A 2003 survey by FranklinCovey, meanwhile, found that employees singled out micromanagement as the most significant barrier to productivity they faced, confirmed by a 2011 study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology that showed people who believe they are being watched perform at a lower level."

So here’s a quick guide on how to manage your Helicopter boss:

Pre-empt their strategies

A good manager is always someone who anticipates the questions/problems first and finds the possible solutions. It will take some time to understand how your boss works – how he/she thinks, how he/she tries to solve the problems and also how they react in certain situations. So understand your boss and his/her work methods. This gives a perspective on how you would approach a challenge. This is will give your boss the confidence that there is alignment in the thought process. Of course, there will be disagreements. But as professionals, both need to understand it’s normal. 

Team must work like a well-oiled machine

When you take a role and its responsibilities, what comes along with it is the team. You succeed not just because you are talented, you do great work because of the team members who follow the same passion and mission. When you know that your superboss is a micromanager, you need to build your team and delegate responsibilities in a scientific way – making it easy and accountable for each and everyone. The team members will have a proper understanding of what’s to be done, what’s expected out of them and the deliverables. And this will ensure that the team works like a well-oiled machine. 

Don’t just give ideas, support it with facts/data

Micromanagers or Helicopter Bosses don’t like to listen to just any ideas. They need facts and data to support the ideas. Before presenting your and your team’s ideas to the boss, what you need to do is research and come up with data/facts to support then. At least give the boss an idea about the result you want to achieve in the most practical way.  Since micromanaging is in his/her blood, the bosses will ask for minute details that many don’t ask in the first flush. 

Chart out your projects, and discuss

While it is not easy to be future-ready all the time, it is necessary for you and the team to be able to chart out the one year plan of the projects you will work on. Well, this is no great shakes you will say. But planning the projects means dissecting every angle of it and putting them up on a map. Have a discussion with the boss about the way you want to go about projects. 

Take team training with your boss

Get into a training session with your boss. Block a time, get him/her on board. Talk to the boss about why this is important and how it will help in managing time. And after the session, keep the boss updated about the work that you and your team does. Once he/she gets to know the success ratio of yours, he/she will eventually start trusting you. Look for constant feedback in the first few months, this will ensure your boss is aptly briefed about the projects in various stages. And last moment changes will become lesser. 

The thing that you should keep in mind is Helicopter bosses don’t micromanage because they don’t like you or want to put you or your team down. They are generally sceptics who tread each path very carefully because they are crazily passionate about their work. So it takes time for the trust and confidence to grow, and once you understand them, work becomes play!

If there are other interesting ways you handle your micromanaging boss, do let us know!

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Topics: Watercooler, Life @ Work

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