There are those who balance their bank accounts and those who don’t. As someone who does, I had a recent encounter with someone who doesn’t. I could provide no rational as to why this was a necessary activity since in my decades of doing this, the bank has never been wrong. It was a rather heated discussion until I added, in addition to recording my expenses, I indicate the expense type. This assists me in money management (really, does one need to spend $160 a month at Starbucks) and I indicate which expenses are business related: pretty important for tax time. The fact remains, at the time, I was judged by my actions without knowledge of the full facts.

Everyone judges. Judging is necessary. Can you make a left turn against traffic without an oncoming car smashing into you? How much time do you need to get to the airport so you don’t miss your flight, yet you don’t waste half a day waiting in the airport? The balance comes with remembering a judgment may be made with or without all of the facts. Judgment is to make a sensible conclusion.

In making a “sensible conclusion” begin with an awareness you may not know all the facts. You know the facts presented to you. Make no mistake, this does impact the workplace. Instances that seem to deserve the label, “beyond stupid”, are the results of a series of judgments without full facts. The coworker who seems unencumbered by a logical thought process may have been directed by management to pursue a specific course of action. For example, the person who won’t approve a future expense has been directed by management not to approve expenses because of an upcoming policy change. The problem is, workers experience these things in isolation. By the time the root cause is known, the incident is forgotten. This would be fine, except, by the time the policy is changed, “James” in finance has been undeservedly labeled the hard ass SOB who doesn’t approve anything. Judgments are survival instincts and hard to change once formed. As more facts are gathered,  judgments may change. Much like the maligned “James” in the example.

Watching a coach remove a player from a game, fans may become incensed. The fans decide the coach is mistaken. They boo, hiss, yell and finally take to social media (in real time) to express displeasure. In the moment, without all the facts, the coach’s ability is called into question. Eventually, the fans discover the coach removed the player because of an injury. While the boos and the drumming the coach took can’t be taken back, coaches do expect a certain amount of fan backlash and are equipped to deal with it. So long as the team’s front office is satisfied with the coach all is fine. The same cannot be said for a typical workplace. The boos and hisses are divisive and can cost productivity and careers.

 

  1. Sometimes you have the facts but they become biased by the boos and hisses. Be responsible and understand the difference between judgements and being judgmental.
  2. There are times when you are not part of the decision making process. You won’t know all the information. You have to take on faith people are dealing with you in an equitable manner.
  3. As you make judgments, have a discussion to learn more facts, not a debate to prove how right you think you are.

A judgment is a sensible conclusion reached with facts. Being judgmental is taking a set of facts and twisting them to fit a point of view. Avoid being judgmental and use good judgment.