Igniting Innovation: Tips, Sparks and Ideas for Acting on Innovation

Don’t be a Helicopter Leader

Posted by Scott Dunkle on Jun 16, 2016 1:31:41 PM

Summer.  The time of year when many children and teenagers head off to summer camp for a week of independence.  Parents everywhere are wondering at that moment and throughout the week: “will my child lose all their things?”…“will my child make the right decisions?”

The campers come home, happy, healthy,  and unscathed.  They may have HelicopterLeadership.jpgfigured out that not bathing for 3 days wasn’t the best idea, or that having to remember to put on sunscreen is important.

But they learned.  Without the parent TELLING them.

So why is there still that bit of worry in the back of the mind that they need a parent there to make sure they make the right decisions?

As a leader or manager in an organization, letting go and allowing those that work with and for you to learn on their own can be a difficult task.

Amy Rees Anderson writes in a post titled, Good Employees Make Mistakes. Great Leaders Allow Them To.: “Making any mistake once was OK, so long as it was an honest mistake made while attempting to do what they felt was the right thing. Making any mistake once was OK, but repeating that same mistake a second time was NOT OK.

Think back to when you first joined your company, or entered the workforce.  Think of a task or decision that you have had to make within the last month - how would you have made that decision or accomplished that task back when you first started?  Certainly not the same as now, and that is because you LEARNED what worked and didn’t work.

If we shelter employees from making hard decisions or doing delicate tasks, we’re just creating a vicious cycle of constant sheltering.  If not that person, then it could be the next, or the next.

Just as children grow and mature when able to make their own decisions and learn from them - so too can the employees in your organization.

Don’t be a Helicopter Leader - a system like Innovation Engineering can ensure proper learning is quick, safe, and documented.

There are two opportunities coming up that can help you learn more about a systemic approach to innovation:

June 22, 2016 - 4th Annual Innovation Engineering Conference being held online:

Register for Online Conference

June 23 - 24, 2016 - Innovation Engineering Executive Experience being held at the Eureka! Ranch in Cincinnati, Ohio:

Register Now


Topics: innovation, leadership, fail fast fail cheap

Scott Dunkle

Written by Scott Dunkle

Scott is the Tech Guy. The leader of all things digital creating an innovation platform like no other in the world. And he never misses a chance to throw in a Star Wars reference.

Welcome to the first blog from the Eureka! Ranch and Innovation Engineering Institute team.  Here you will find a diverse group of innovators dedicated to changing the world by transforming innovation from a random gamble to a reliable system that delivers increased innovation speed and decreased risk.


So, many exciting things are going on at Eureka! Ranch and with Innovation Engineering don't miss out on anything:

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