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4 Signs You’re a Helicopter Coworker — & How to Stop

Everyone has heard of helicopter parenting, but have you heard of helicopter coworking? Even if you haven’t heard of it, you’ve definitely experienced it. We’ve all had that one coworker who seemed a little too into your work. Who reveled at asking what you did today or if you needed help with this or that. It’s easy to get caught up in caring for your company and wanting it to succeed, but there’s a fine line between promoting success and overstepping your boundaries.

If you think you may be that coworker, we’re here to help you identify whether or not you’re driving your colleagues a bit insane. And if it turns out you’re a helicopter, we have some advice on how to stop.

1. Warning sign: You refuse to let people do their own work

Aaron Haynes, an entrepreneur and digital marketer, wrote about helicopter behavior in the workplace for Entrepreneur, saying if you feel as though you’re busier than your professional counterparts who have similar responsibilities, it could be because you’re too busy completing both your tasks and other employees’ tasks. Trust in the people your company hired and allow them to do their own work.

2. Warning sign: Your coworkers are getting upset with your requests

Just as children don’t enjoy helicopter parenting, employees do not enjoy helicopter coworking. When you are constantly watching a peer over their shoulder or asking for status updates every hour or critiquing their every move, they’re likely to get frustrated. Your coworkers want to feel as though you believe in them — and if you don’t, they’ll lose morale, potentially leading to a high turnover rate in your office.

3. Warning sign: You think most of your coworkers are underperformers

Are your coworkers underperforming, or are you setting your standards too high? You might feel your coworkers aren’t doing the best job because you aren’t giving them the chance to. If you are helicoptering all over your office, your fellow employees are less likely to perform to their best ability.

4. Warning sign: You believe you & only you have the best approach to most tasks

According to Haynes, assuming you’re the best shows you believe your peers to be inferior. By helicoptering them, you’ll never allow them the chance to make necessary mistakes in order to learn from them and develop their own solution to each issue. Your behavior could also be causing self-doubt among your team.

Muriel Maignan Wilkins, cofounder and managing partner of executive coaching and leadership firm Paravis Partners, gave her advice on how to stop helicopter coworking for Harvard Business Review.

1. Tip: Wilkins put it best when she said, “Get over yourself”

Stop trying to rationalize why you need to be a helicopter coworker to your peers and start reminding yourself why you shouldn’t be engaging in this workplace behavior.

2. Tip: Start little & work your way up

Make a list of the tasks you should be allowing other employees to complete in order of small, menial tasks to large, influential ones. Begin by letting go of the smaller tasks — allow yourself to get comfortable losing some control.

3. Tip: Realize you can share an end-goal expectation without explaining how to get there

You want to remain on the same page as your coworkers. Feel free to give small advice or discuss the ultimate goal for a specific project, but allow them to figure out how to get there on their own.

Thoughts impact actions. Experiencing the frustration of someone being late or facing a consequence as a result of tardiness can make being on time an incredibly important value. When people contemplate why being late is a problem and how it can negatively impact themselves and others, being on time regularly becomes an easier task.

This article originally appeared on Fairygodboss. As the largest career community for women, Fairygodboss provides millions of women with career connections, community advice and hard-to-find intel about how companies treat women.

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