Helicopter Management

Helicopter managers

  • Suddenly appear out of nowhere after longer periods of (felt) absence
  • Create huge gusts of dust
  • Make high and immediate demands for change
  • Vanish as fast as they appeared

As a friend of mine once said, “managers are a service.” I don’t bother my manager with my daily work (that’s what I’m paid to do) but for things that I can’t solve myself. When I need feedback and someone else starves me. When I need a tool but the company doesn’t give me budget or the authority to sign it. Things like that.

Helicopter managers don’t help. Most of the time, you don’t notice that they’re there. When the suddenly jump to action, a lot of dust gets blown around. But dust isn’t important. Usually, you can safely ignore dust. Dust only becomes a problem when it’s disturbed. As soon as it gets airborne, it can blind or suffocate you.

Since the helicopter manager is always in a hurry, they don’t have time to see change happen. They just start it. But they’re not there when the flaws and shortcomings of the change become apparent.

When you suffer from one of those, always keep a bucket with dust around to clog their engines.


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