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Professional Tourette's and How to Stop It

I know.  There's some people out there afflicted with Tourette's syndrome.  It's not a fun thing.  Here's the description:

Tourette syndrome (also called Tourette's syndromeTourette's disorderGilles de la Tourette syndromeGTS or, more commonly, simply Tourette's or TS) is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder with onset in childhood, characterized by multiple physical (motor) tics and at least one vocal (phonic) tic. Tourette's was once considered a rare and bizarre syndrome, most often associated with the exclamation of obscene words or socially inappropriate and derogatory remarks (coprolalia), but this symptom is present in only a small minority of people with Tourette's.

It's that rare, socially inapproriate remarks version of Tourette's that I want to talk about.  That's what's usually portrayed in the media, most famously in the Curb Your Enthusiasm episode (I'm not linking here because it's too much for the man - search Curb and Tourette's to see the clip.  It's on you at that point).

Some people are afflicted with Professional Tourette's.  Here's my definition:

Professional Tourette's: The tendency to repeatedly blurt out things in important meetings that are out of context or so far off of what was needed to be delivered at the time that they serve to kill momentum towards the stated goal of the meeting.

Know anyone with Professional Tourette's?  My experience is that the people who are afflicted with PT usually think they have more to contribute than they do.  They generally don't understand that silence is golden and the appearance of listening is key, and when they do display professional tourette's, they're usually talking about things that are a grade or two above the pay grade they understand.

They have a history of blurting and exclamation of value-added comments that.... well, they're not value added.

The best way to help someone with PT is to tell them they have the disorder.  Then coach appropriately moving forward.  For the person afflicted with PT?  They need to understand that if they think they're absolutely killing it and adding value with a profound comment... They're not.

Know anyone with Professional Tourette's?  I do.  Give me a taste of your experience with this disorder below.



My recent experience is with an employer who takes time to tell everyone my idea is bad. He'll change my practical example to a situation that he'll base outside the workplace then ask,"Does anyone think that (his example) would be a good idea?" At the last meeting he asked if I had anything I wanted to address. I said,"Absolutely...not!" There were a few muffled snickers. Its really a tough issue. Thanks for the straight talk!

So, the story ends with last weeks meeting when he started to treat another assitant with the same tactics. He said,"I want everyone to pay attention to the point I've been successfully making for the past year: No assistant will ever tell me what to do." What next? I'm still shocked.

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