Don’t we all sometimes catch ourselves judging others – perhaps unfairly?
In the dictionary the definition of “judgment“ is that it is “an opinion that you form about something after thinking about it carefully”. To me, the definition implies, that judgment can be positive and negative. The important word in the definition is “carefully”.
We make tons of judgments every day, and some of them need to be made quickly – like assessing if it is safe to cross a street.
When we make a rash judgment about someone else, we are not considering that people are complex, three-dimensional beings with many different sides. We reduce them down to a handful of characteristics. As an example, when we judge someone based on their upbringing and mentally label them as spoiled, we do not take into account that they may actually be quite selfless and caring.
So, when could you as a leader fall into the trap of rushing to judgment? Here is an example: You take on a new management role and the previous incumbent is gracious enough to provide a handover. They tell you about ongoing business and provide information about their staff. You may receive information, positive and negative, about individuals that could taint your view, so that when you meet these team members for the first time you may – if not careful – already have formed an opinion about them.
One important part of coach training is to learn how to suspend judgment, in other words how to free your mind of biases, stereotypes and assumptions. And – as with everything that you may want to change – it starts with acknowledging that there is a behaviour or thought pattern that you fall into.
Here are a few pointers on “How not to be judgmental” that you could try out:
o Focus on yourself first. Staying self-focused helps to not point the finger. Every person has something they should want to work on in their own life. Focus on your own life and you will be less judgmental of others and their behaviour.
o Try to understand the other person and or situation. Listening to someone’s story and trying to understand where they are coming from can expand your point of view. Empathy is important!
o Look for the positive. When we judge someone, we focus on what we consider to be their negative qualities. Instead of criticizing, try looking at their positive attributes – what are they doing right, what are their best characteristics.
o Mind your business. If you mind your own business, then maybe you won't have so much time on your hands to judge others. Is your life not exciting enough?
o Explore within. When you notice that you feel the impulse to judge someone, think about why you feel that need? Are you trying to make yourself feel better?
o Don't judge yourself and you will not judge others!
Wishing you a successful week with confidence … Claudia
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