Succeeding with the Biggest Challenge of Leadership
Decisiveness becomes judgmentalism when you make decisions based on assumptions. The danger of being decisive is the tendency to make quick decisions about others that limit their potential and hinder relationships.
When you judge others, you assume:
- Your judgments are right.
- Your values are superior.
- Your way is the right way. This is only true if others are you.
Heart of Judgmentalism:
Judgmental leaders focus on changing others and validating themselves. The heart of judgmentalism is the belief that others should be more like you.
The biggest challenge of leadership:
The biggest challenge of leadership isn’t changing others. It’s seeing beyond yourself. Leadership is about others.
Judging allows you to focus on changing others. The result is:
- Standing aloof.
- Feeling superior.
Question of the day:
The question of the day is, ‘How might you adjust to others?’ not how do others need to be more like you. Just for today, focus on adjusting to others. (Inspired by The Outward Mindset, by the Arbinger Institute.)
- Show respect.
- Be curious.
- Go with, not against.
How might judgmentalism hinder leadership?
What does it mean for leaders to get out of themselves?
Great article as usual Dan. Arrogance and the certainty that one is right is a huge problem for leaders. People look to you to lead and it is easy to feel the pressure to be confident, certain and without doubts on your decisions.
Unfortunately, what we now know about cognitive biases and distortions indicates we are ALL susceptible to perceiving reality differently than it really is. Basing decisions on “the facts” should be said to be one’s perception of the the facts.
Here is an excellent infographic showing all the ways we get deceived by these biases. http://wiseinsights.net/50-cognitive-biases-wrecking-your-decisions-infographic.
True leadership is both humble and unafraid to make decisions. Humble because they freely admit they could be wrong since they don’t see or understand everything (not omniscient). But, not afraid to make decisions because they could be wrong. As Dave Ramsey says, “I make a decision, and if it’s the wrong one, I make another one.”
I look forward to your next article Dan!
It sometimes seems that there’s somewhat of a cultural bias for ‘confident’ leaders, with ‘confidence’ often projecting as arrogance. I like this comment – as leaders, we need to have the confidence to make decisions, but the humility to hold those decisions loosely; to make decisions without the illusion of certainty.
Well said. It seems that a leader who can hold together these two seemingly opposing perspectives (confidence and humility) has enough self-confidence to face being wrong and be comfortable with uncertainty.
I can think of several leaders like this. Rather than reducing my confidence in them (because they don’t speak with categorical certainty), I find myself more confident with their leadership (because they don’t just see the world in black/white, but recognize the shades of gray in most decisions).
Judgementalism almost got a person fired, when I first took my new position. I was a newly hired manager and right away, people were telling me about an employee that everyone called, “a constant problem”. People in the organization attempted to taint my thoughts towards this individual. Good thing I had experienced this before. Whenever I enter into a new relationship with someone, especially if I am the “boss”, I enter it with a new set of eyes. My first encounter with this “problem employee” was of course an incident in which they were involved. My boss wanted to fire this person, and was giving me all of the background information. I had a few issues. First, I had never met or talked with this person and the company had no documentation. There was a lot of he said, she said stuff, but nothing real concrete. At least nothing that would lead me to fire this individual. I told my boss this and he lost it on a conference call in front of a lot of other people. And I said to him “I hate to disagree with you right off the bat in my new position, but I’ve got to be a leader here.” He backed off. Long story short, the employee did not get fired and I’ve actually been able to influence them and the organization in a way that has helped them become a very productive employee in our organization. Everyone had this person pegged, and if I had listened to them, judgementalism, would have ended their career.