Sunday, September 25, 2011

Identifying and Curing Adult Syndrome?

We normally know who they are in the organisation or have torrid memories of ‘them’ when we first started our careers. We also know that adult syndrome has several types, but each type creates similar end results - lowered levels of productivity. After reviewing the symptoms listed here, you’ll hopefully find that you’re not infected, though unfortunately for some at the other extreme you may find that you are infected with more than one type. If this is the case, you may need to spend extra time working on the cure (Bobinski, D, 2006, 18).
Dan Bobinski defines, Type 1 adult syndrome as imagined understanding. “This form of the disease is carried by those who imagine that because they are adults, they should already understand what someone is saying before they say it. The condition is usually observed by others through the frequent repeating of the phrase 'I know.' It is sometimes referred to as arrogance,” (p.18).
Type I adult syndrome can be acute in people holding any senior position from executive to supervisory, and often where the promotion has solely been based on past performance.
Interestingly, this form of the disease affects people trying to hide something - mainly because they're afraid they'll look like idiots for not being omniscient, (ok, who had to look up omniscient?).
Dan Bobinski defines Type II adult syndrome as intentional deflection. “This type of the disease is all about self-preservation. It fools the observer by redirecting attention when the infected person doesn't know the answer, or doesn't want to know,” (p.18).
What is concerning about these two types is that they are far too common to be healthy for organisational and industry growth, in today’s global economy. The global crisis itself is,to some extent, due to adult syndrome and the current ‘mess’ in sorting it out has adult syndrome written all over it as well.
Babinski states that “curing adult syndrome is possible, but the treatment can be a tough pill to swallow. The best antidote is a large, thick slice of humble pie. Don't misunderstand, this is far from grovelling. It's just a dose of reality. Sadly, many deny humility's healing powers, viewing it as a weakness rather than a strength,” (p.19).
It’s worth noting what author Rick Maurer says that we need to be willing to be changed by listening to another person. This doesn't mean we desire to be changed, but rather that we are willing. It's a fine line of difference, but an important one. Misunderstanding this difference is why many continue to suffer from adult syndrome.
It’s unfortunate that with all the access people have to information and learning that organisations still ‘accept’ cultures that allow for the use of “imagined understanding” and “intentional deflection” – as both approaches are painfully obvious to the employees that have to deal with it on a regular basis and yet this transparent ‘stupidity’ appears to go unnoticed by the ‘user’, similar to the ‘King who wore no clothes’.
What organisations need are individuals, at all levels, who are clear and transparent about what they ‘know they know’ but who, even then, are willing to ‘listen’ to other points of view. But more importantly individuals who are willing to acknowledge what they ‘know they don’t know’, and are open to find the answers from those who have the knowledge, (regardless of that persons level in the organisation).
So as Bobinski states in conclusion; “bottom line, if we are willing to listen to someone else in a mind-set that acknowledges we aren't omniscient and we don't have all the answers, the symptoms of adult syndrome begin to fade away. Then reality comes to the surface, and working relationships become healthy,” (p.19).
Bobinski, D. (2006). Adult Syndrome: Is There a Cure? Management Services, Summer, p. 18-19.

No comments:

Post a Comment