“Why do people do stupid things in the workplace?” (Thomas Hoffman)

Thomas Hoffman, PhD. , PScience Associates

Steve Dorfman interviews Thomas Hoffman, PhD. Dr. Hoffman is a former NIH and FDA research scientist and author of over 100 biomedical and clinical research articles.

Here’s what we asked Dr. Hoffman:

  1. When we talk about “stupid” things in the workplace, can you give us some examples of what that might look like?
  2. You say that when it comes to neuroscience and psychology, we actually know very little about what causes these stupid behaviors.
  3. From time to time, we ALL do “stupid” things. What steps can we take to avoid this?
  4. How can we help our coworkers and employees be less “stupid?” Think/act intelligently?
  5. As a customer service trainer, I see this kind of thing all the time. Seemingly intelligent people acting unintelligently. (A server brews a fresh pot of coffee, bring you a cup several minutes later, and then you have to remind him that you’ll need cream, sugar and a spoon – why didn’t he bring those things to the table while the coffee was brewing?!)
  6. Here’s something else I tend to notice more than I wish I did: You’re a passenger in someone’s car, they do something “stupid” and then blame it on the driver of the other car. What the heck is that about?
  7. I think it’s fair to say that procrastination is stupid. How does procrastination fit into all of this?
  8. How does our MOOD affect all of this?
  9. For the first time ever, we have four generations in the workplace. What observations or findings can you share about generational differences?
  10. Sometimes an employee can have a brilliant idea/plan for their company but not be able to express it intelligently. What’s at play here?
  11. What about working in groups/teams? Do we become smarter or stupider?
  12. What should an employer do when their employee seems to be a repeat offender when it comes to stupidity? What steps should they take?
  13. We have 1/20th the number of daily human interactions as compared to just 25 years ago. Is this time of technology-overdose making us more stupid?
  14. You say bartenders shouldn’t take away empty glasses…
  15. Tell us about your work with “High Performance Teams.”
  16. Tips on attracting and retaining a remarkable staff?

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