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Judge!

On February 12, 2018, in Dr. Todd Dewett, Editorial Advisory Board, HRExaminer, by Dr. Todd Dewett

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“In the end, judging is essential, just like breathing. Judge! All the time, but do it effectively. Just remember, it can be a simple way to reinforce uninformed selfish black and white views. Or, it can be a tool for harnessing your intelligence to allow you to understand life more fully.” – Dr. Todd Dewett

Most observers suggest that judging others is wrong. However, to judge is to make a type of decision. What is more central to a successful life than sound decision-making? Some even say judging is a sin. That’s just silly. We need a more nuanced view. Is judging good or bad? This question is the real problem. That’s like asking if words are bad. It of course depends on how they are used.

In reality, a judgment is just a conclusion, a view, an opinion, a belief. You are presented with something and you react. It’s a natural form of rapid decision-making. How you react and why defines whether or not the judgement is good or bad. In general, judging is not bad. However, consistently hasty and unthoughtful judgement certainly can be bad.

When people disparage judging, they often site many nefarious explanations for why we judge. They say we are insecure, scared, lonely, or jealous. Certainly, these are possible motivators. When they dominate your drive to judge, yes, you might expect some unproductive outcomes including the perpetuation of stereotypes, unnecessary negativity, and strained relationships.

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Dr. Todd Dewett | Founding member, HRExaminer Editorial Advisory Board


However, judging is also an absolutely vital decision-making tool. To judge is to agree or disagree with something. To accept or reject. To approve or disapprove. To assign some sort of value. These are essential things we must do every day. If we allow this process to be characterized by a learning orientation, judging is neither simple or negative. With the right perspective, it can actually become powerful fuel for personal growth.

So let’s think about how to judge effectively. First, realize that judging is not about using your values as a simple filter for decisions. Values represent useful data, but judging isn’t just about applying them as if they are rules to follow. In fact, it’s often about openly questioning them. People with great judgement know that values vary considerably person to person. Thus, your values can be an aide and a bias at the same time.

No worries, here is how you make judging work. Start by being intentional in each new situation and ask yourself if you are judging someone or something. Own it mentally. Choose to not immediately react if not required to. If judging a person, separate the person from the behavior. Asses your major assumptions, your values, and consider any stereotypes you might be indulging. Seek to understand more clearly by asking a question or two.

Following these activities, you’re far more likely to make a useful informed judgement. Sure, in the moment, you might sometimes find it difficult to embrace each part of this process. However, these steps still provide a useful way to structure your reflections after the interaction is complete, thus making you more prepared for each new situation.

In the end, judging is essential, just like breathing. Judge! All the time, but do it effectively. Just remember, it can be a simple way to reinforce uninformed selfish black and white views. Or, it can be a tool for harnessing your intelligence to allow you to understand life more fully. I don’t mean to judge, but the latter certainly sounds like the preferred option.
 

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