Don’t Be a ‘Helicopter Leader;’ Encourage Team to Take Risks

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – A helicopter parent is one who constantly hovers over their child, solving all their problems for them and making sure they stay safe.

While well-intentioned, the parent could unknowingly be depriving their children of the opportunity to make mistakes and develop soft skills.

“We tend to be overly involved in our children’s lives,” says Traci Hostetler, an admitted “helicopter mom,” and the superintendent of the Educational Service Center of Eastern Ohio.

After calling the shots for her kids their whole lives, Hostetler says, sending them off to college was an “eye-opening” experience.

“My kids did a lot better without me hovering. They got to make mistakes and fix them.”

Hostetler, who oversees an organization that employs 500 across several counties, says she uses that lesson in her leadership style.

She shared her thoughts with Jeff Leo Herrmann, CEO of the Youngstown Publishing Co., during a recent episode of the Brain Gain Youngstown Leadership Podcast.

Here are some key takeaways.

• Mistakes are how you learn. Let people make them.

• Don’t do anything that’s irreversible.

• People are more likely to take action and be creative when they know that they’re supported.

• Encourage staff to take calculated risks.

• An employee who is qualified still may not be the right fit for your company. The Brain Gain Youngstown Leadership Podcast is published every Wednesday at and on Spotify.

Pictured: Jeff Herrmann and Traci Hostetler share some laughs after recording the podcast.