“Good judgment requires more than surface level observation”

Ever hear “Don’t judge me”, or “I am not judgmental”, or “it is unfair to judge…..”?  Fact is that we do judge.  We judge other people, organizations, ourselves, and just about everything else around us.    It is human nature to be opinionated about our surroundings.   Some of us are more openly opinionated than others, but regardless, we all pass judgment and develop opinions.  We even pass judgment on other peoples judgment – ironic, huh?  

Leaders differentiate themselves by taking the time to ask the right questions and to dig deeper before passing judgment.  They have a sense of maturity and strive to be someone that others would classify as “having good judgment”.   In addition, the decisions that Leaders make tend to have results that have an exponential effect.  Therefore, it is unaffordable to make decisions on the back of bad judgment.  The decisions leaders are faced with can range from how we should react to a specific situation/individual, to what needs to be done to prepare the organization for the next five years.   Each situation has varying levels of priority and complexity, but all require more attention than just skimming the surface.

Here is an example that most can relate to…….. Consider a situation where an individual/organization has done something that really surprised us.  It actually hurt our feelings and/or made us think about them in a negative way.   The majority of individuals would write the other side off right then and there.  It is common for relationships to go sour over a build-up of misunderstandings/miscommunication.   It is easier to just get mad and possibly retaliate, than it is to confront the situation, and when it is easier that is the way most people go.   But this is not acceptable because more is expected of Leaders.   When something like this happens we should think through a number of things, such as if the other side is a good person/organization and has been trusted in the past, or why they might have said or done such and such.  Additionally, we should ask ourselves if our actions may have potentially led to the situation.  It is arrogant to automatically think that we are being wronged and that the other side is just awful.  The next step is confrontation, which typically comes with positive results, while taking the easy route and avoiding it eliminates any potential for resolution.  Lack of confrontation builds walls when we should be focused on knocking them down.    Adding to the irony is that the majority of people/organizations are not “bad people”.  They are good and have good intentions.  Taking the extra time to investigate reveals this and is typically time well spent.

Larger issues require more observation and investigation before we can really pass judgment and make decisions.  What is important is that we take the appropriate amount of time before acting/reacting.

On another note, Leaders tend to be very busy which makes it easy to fall into the habit of making quick decisions.   With additional volume, we must be careful to maintain the quality of those decisions, which requires good judgment.  And good judgment requires thinking, asking questions, maturity, and patience.  Never stop taking the time to dig below the surface.

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