320. Expert Interview: Flying Without a Helicopter, with Joanie Connell, Ph.D.
Joanie Connell, Ph.D.
Joanie B. Connell, Ph.D. is the founder of Flexible Work Solutions, a consulting firm that specializes in leadership assessment, development and retention for all levels. She teaches at the University of California at San Diego and is the author of Flying Without a Helicopter: How to Prepare Young People for Work and Life. She received her doctorate in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley and her bachelor’s degree in engineering from Harvard University.
Flying Without a Helicopter
“Helicopter Parenting”—hovering over and doing too many things for your kids, protecting them, and not letting them learn those skills themselves—is leading to problems when they get older and enter the workplace. Corporate executives often complain about younger people coming into the workplace lacking some of the basic life skills that are necessary to succeed, like being independent, resilient, having good communication skills, and creativity.
Why Is This Important?
“Of course, there are pluses and minuses to every style of parenting. On the one hand, when we’re protecting our kids, we’re keeping them safe. But, on the other hand, when we’re overly protective we’re dis-empowering them, unintentionally depriving them of the opportunities they need to do for themselves. We have a lot of anxiety in our society right now, and it’s causing parents to want to protect their children from bad things they see happening like kidnapping, terrorism and violence. After dealing with attacks of 9/11 and terrorism, the media has taken on this new agenda, using fear to get us to watch TV, buy the newspaper and click on online newscasts.”
What Are the Key Lessons Learned Here?
“I’ve developed a model—a real life model—which helps people be resilient, empowered, authentic, and limber. Those are the basic life skills that people need to succeed at work, in addition to having some expertise in a field of interest. It’s about being resilient, being able to make mistakes, pick yourself back up, and deal with barriers in a way that empowers you to take care of yourself, to be self-directed and not wait for someone else to helicopter in and do it for you. It’s also about being authentic, able to communicate, being true to yourself, not trying to be perfect all the time and pretending to be somebody else.”
Connecting With Joanie Connell, Ph.D.
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