Have you ever caught yourself judging a person? We all do it... some more than others. I'm working on reducing my judgement, and as a result I'm much more aware of it when I do it.
Last weekend, I was playing on the beach with my 2-year old. It was sunny, the beach was spattered with people relaxing and playing, and my husband had gone snorkeling in the ocean. I noticed a lady who was very skinny... anorexic skinny. My first reaction was: "Oh my gosh, how could she do that to herself?" (Total judgement!) Then I saw a man come over and hug her and rub her back with affection. And I thought: "She is surrounded by love... her sister (twin) is there with her.... a young child is there with her... a loving man is there with her." And THEN I felt different. I felt compassion. I felt a little sadness. I felt like going over there and giving her a hug. I realized that I was in judgement... for about 30 seconds.
I have no idea what this woman's challenges were. I do not even know if she had anorexia, which is a serious disease, and how dare I judge?! And it doesn't matter if the woman is surrounded by love or totally alone. It doesn't matter if she's perfectly healthy or near death. How dare I judge.
Here's the message. We never know. Even if we did know, we don't know. Because it's THEIR life and THEIR experiences. We can't know. We can only send love. And compassion. And when it's someone in our lives or someone we CAN touch, we help if we can and if they accept.
In business, it's exactly the same. How many times have you said, "I can't believe he did that." "If she did the course, she must know what to do." "Who comes to work late?" "How disrespectful of him to not call to let us know he'll be late." "She must be lazy - she's so unproductive." "The younger generation just doesn't have any loyalty." "I would never do what he did." The list goes on and on and on.... doesn't it?
I had a chat with a business owner recently who hired a cook. He said, "Doesn't everyone know how to peel potatoes? I don't understand how he cannot know how to peel a potato!" Well.... no, not everyone knows how to peel potatoes. The fact is, unless they've been taught and/or had the experience, they don't know. And maybe, they do know, but their way is different. Maybe they were taught differently. As a manager, it's your responsibility to hire as well as possible and then guide your employee towards excellence. Not judge. Help them move through their challenges so they CAN be excellent at what you've hired them to do.
Next week, try to be aware of when you make a judgement about an employee or team member. Think of all the possible reasons they might have said what they said or done what they did. And realize that it's not your place to judge, rather guide.
How are you going to guide this week?