Are We Creating Dumb People?

Why this topic? You might ask.

Well, when you set-up training courses, you learn a lot.  Especially when it requires you to spend hours on research. 

When you work with people, you notice a lot. I guess you could say that’s probably my biggest problem…I notice everything.

I remember as a student we would take the bus into the city.  You could take the 1.5 hour walk back to the campus if you wanted to.  But I loved sitting at the bus stop, and just observe and analyse people. The people walking up and down the street would become my focus of attention. In that space I became an objective observer of people’s behavior. 

I still do that. On airports. At the shopping malls. At church. Human behavior is complex. I like complex things. Watching people is interesting for many reasons. You learn a lot. You learn about why they do what they do and who they are. I guess that’s why I love mentoring and coaching people.

The secret is in what they are not telling you. That’s where the hidden potential or fear lies. And as you build the relationship, you can start to peel off those layers until you find the person with the promise and potential they were born with. That promise and potential never leaves you.

I see a lot of articles about people not thinking for themselves. I have a lot of conversations with business colleagues about “common sense”. It’s plastered all over social media – the infamous posts about “will common sense ever make a comeback?”. 

In fact, I just had a discussion yesterday. Leaders complain about people not mentoring their mentees. Leaders complain about people not thinking for themselves. Leaders complain about people not “getting” it. Leaders complain about a lot of things people do wrong. 

But that same leaders ask to review every single output of a person or an employee. That same leader do not allow their mentees to create and present their own presentations. That same leader do not allow their mentees to conduct a meeting on their own. That same leader want to monitor every move people make.

So what if they fail?  I’ve failed many times. It was the only way I’ve learned. It was the only way I learned how to be resourceful and mindful about my environment. 

No single person or employee ever goes to work and say, “today I’m going to stuff up my work”. Never. They do what they’ve been taught. They do what were imitated to them. They do what they’re allowed to do. Maybe eve less because they are afraid of failure. That way they can be sure to operate within the little square box that’s been drawn for them. Without consequences. 

I once had someone telling me “I don’t appoint a person to think outside the box, I appoint them to follow the process”. Alrighty then. Good luck with your team.

You see, you teach people how to treat you. In order to survive, humans had to learn many skills, including socially accepted behavior. People will display the behavior that’s socially acceptable within the culture of the organization of the business – depending on the behavior other leaders display to them. 

If we create a society or environment of monitoring every single output one way or the other, are we making people dumb and stupid?

I mean…I’m just asking.

Petrolene

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