How to Make Good Judgements and Not be Judgmental

Good judgement expands the future, but being judgmental:

  1. Wrecks relationships.
  2. Diminishes talent.
  3. De-motivates teammates.
  4. Disengages employees.


The difference between good judgement and being judgmental is assumption.

#1. Judgmental leaders make decisions based on negative assumptions.

Suppose John misses a deadline. Judgmental leaders instantly ‘know’ why he missed the deadline. He doesn’t respect others. He’s lazy. He only cares for himself. He can’t manage time.

False assumptions are imagined realities.

#2. Judgmental leaders interact with people based on assumptions, not realities.

I treat you with my assumptions about you in mind.

Negative assumptions sabotage relationships. 

#3. Judgmental leaders hinder the growth-potential of everyone they judge.

Once you make an assumption, you find evidence to validate it. It’s difficult to bring out the best in someone when you assume the worst about them.

Assuming the worst brings out the worst.

It’s more difficult to let go of a decision than to make it in the first place.

Confronting judgmentalism:

  1. Replace negative assumption with positive regard. Think the best, not the worst, until proven otherwise.
  2. Try to prove positive assumptions, rather than validate negative.
  3. Extend compassion. Judging is merciless. Compassion toward weakness enables people to expand their strength.
  4. Respect talent. We’re all great at one or two things and suck at many.
  5. Stay curious in the face of skepticism.
  6. Commit to maintain a constructive vs. destructive orientation.
  7. Embrace a growth mindset.

5 questions for good judgment:

  1. What skills, strengths, and talents does this person demonstrate?
  2. How might this situation be an opportunity to strengthen relationship?
  3. What might you do to add value?
  4. What positive intentions might you put into action?
  5. What are you learning about the way you interact?

How might leaders over-come tendencies to make quick negative judgments?