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Judge not to Judge

April 21, 2011

We are required to make judgements of one kind or another much of the time, whether this is in our roles as Leaders, Managers, members of a team or even in our everyday lives. It is a vital  part of our decision-making process. It  enables us to weigh up the pros and cons and decide the best action to take to move onto the next step. It ensures  that choices are made at the right time to keep the organisation on the right path. So making judgements is a good thing to do, right? And yes it is, except when the process of making a judgement turns into being judgemental, judging ourselves or others.

Being judgemental can be  divisive organisational behaviour, that leads to poor management. It is a behaviour that can quickly become viral and can prevent forward movement and in some cases lead to failure.  Being judgemental is an act of judging others and assigning a label; such as ‘they are poor performers’ or ‘that organisation is rubbish’.  When we label in this way, we seek out and filter for instances that confirm our assumptions   and ignore or don’t even notice exceptions to the rule we have set. And by doing this we close down the possibilities of something different being true, because those who are on the receiving end of this kind of judgement start to believe it is true themselves – that they are just not good enough and never will be. It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy where morale drops and the corresponding behaviours become the norm; lack of care and lack of pride in the job to be done and eventually those who hold the possibility of raising performance exit the organisation leaving those who are left to flounder.  After all, when it comes down to it, it is all about reputation and it’s hard to change reputation isn’t it?

So how possible is it to change this?  The act of being judgemental is usually based on a feeling or an emotion (decision based judgements are based on fact), so what needs to happen is to change what is felt. Set realistic expectations and celebrate success when they are met. Notice and appreciate what works  and start to create a new story. It won’t be easy as human being seem to prefer the drama of failure, spending time gossping rather than taking responsibility. And slowly, bit by bit that new story will start to become true as people’s beliefs shift, behaviours change and a new era of possibility is ushered in….

20 Comments leave one →
  1. January 18, 2014 9:34 am

    P.S. I took a quiz on the “Are You Judgemental” quiz on the Psychologies site and apparently I have “an irrational fear of criticism” and “It seems that you aren’t comfortable at all with passing judgement on others. Quite the opposite: you avoid criticising at all costs because when you yourself are reprimanded over something, you feel it as deeply as if it were an assault on your psyche”. It also said I have a fear of getting in trouble. I believe it’s true, I’ve heard it before. My quiz results stated I tend to not criticize people in my daily life. Are you shocked? See you don’t know me and people react to me differently in real life compared to online and the conversations are much different and don’t always voice my opinions and ideas the way I do online. The quiz probably isn’t scientific but either way, maybe you should take your own advice about not judging people. I DEFINITELY have preferences, likes and dislikes (including liking and disliking certain behaviors and attitudes). I DEFINITELY have ideas about what could improve the lives of BW. But having preferences, likes, dislikes, and ideas is NOT THE SAME as being judgemental!

  2. September 3, 2013 4:22 am

    Judgmental does not mean stating an opinion. Even saying that something is “bad” or “good” is not necessarily judgmental (some will argue that labeling something as “good” or “bad” is wrong. That’s another discussion but it is not necessarily judgmental). Not being judgemental does not mean to be opinion-less, spineless, non-skeptical, not being exquisite, being indifferent to whatever. If this was the case then no discussion or analysis of reality would be able.

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  15. May 10, 2013 5:29 am

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  18. September 13, 2012 11:01 am

    What’s really wrong with being judgmental? One problem with being judgmental of others is that we don’t really know everything about other people. When we judge others we often make our decisions based on just a few minutes of knowing them. How can we really know the true heart of another person after we have only chatted with them for a few minutes?

  19. April 21, 2011 10:28 am

    Good Post! and right on! especially the bit about judgments becoming self fulfilling prophecies, because of the tendency to look for confirming, rather than dis-confirming evidence. If everyone were in the habit of looking for dis-confirming evidence we would all be a lot more open to possibility.

    • April 21, 2011 6:01 pm

      Thank you for your comment and may be we could challenge the generalisation that was presented to us rather than accepting it as fact…. I realise that this is something I do do, particularly when a client has been referred to me by their organisation and is something I need to do more of, particularly in relation to my organisational development work…

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