I’m a people watcher, always have been and no doubt always will be. I’m fascinated by human behaviour. My latest fascination is judgement …not the legal kind, but the everyday kind of judgement where an opinion or conclusion has been formed on something or someone.

By nature of its definition judgement enables us to make considered decisions or come to sensible conclusions. And you can see why there’s a place for it …. making decisions is part of everyday life.

But what’s the consequence of someone making the wrong judgement? 

Hmmmm….One recent personal experience jumps out at me loudly. An experience where I felt the weight of judgement placed on me. It was heavy. It wounded me. And unfortunately it was mis-placed.

And whilst it wasn’t necessarily a pleasant experience, in the heat of the moment I took a wise decision to step back and (as per Covey’s work) sought first to understand. And in doing so I saw exactly how the judgement had happened.

It was an opinion that was formed through a lack of understanding, a lack of communication and ultimately a lack of trust. It was a conclusion that was based on the other person’s interpretation of the world, and one without all the necessary facts.

Aside from the impact on the relationship, this misjudgement ended up costing both parties additional time and money. A judgement that likely did the opposite of what it intended to do in the first place.

This example of (mis)judgement got me to thinking …

…if these things happen in our personal lives then undoubtedly they are happening in our professional lives too.

The misjudgements that we are making in the workplace could well be wounding to those around us, could well be placing a heavy weight on folk trying to do their best and ultimately could well be costing businesses in wasted time and money.

We are living in a business world where time and money are infused in our thinking… perhaps even more so than ever before. They are elements taken into consideration in every decision, every action, every review and we cannot afford to waste it unnecessarily.

If you’re interested in grabbing hold of that unnecessary waste, keen to take responsibility for your part to play, and committed to doing things differently then take a look at my :

3 steps to reducing the cost of ‘relationship waste’ in your workplace

At this point, I’d encourage you to switch off your phone, grab a pen and piece of paper (so you can commit to action) and give yourself permission and time to reflect on the understanding, communication and trust that exists in your team and organisation.

So as a team member, manager or leader I’d like you to consider…

  1. Where are you now?
  • How much time, money, (and frankly talent) is lost with misjudgements that are being made in the workplace? – just take a call on a number relevant to you in your daily job.
  • How are these judgements/misjudgements showing up in your own behaviour as a manager, leader, employee? eg. ranging from micro-managing, controlling or a laissez-faire, relaxed style.
  • How effective is your workplace communication as a result of the judgements/misjudgements that are made?
  • How much trust do you have in your team to deliver what is asked of them? If you don’t have trust then consider why that might be the case?
  • What value do you place on your people (your most expensive business asset)? Do you encourage them to challenge the everyday judgements or do you expect them to adhere to what the boss says, to conform and step back than to challenge a differing opinion?
  • Overall how is this impacting where your business is right now? How happy and balanced are both the business balance sheet and your employees right now? How are both performing?

2. Now imagine ….Where could you get to? If you did as Covey suggested and sought first to understand…

  • What would it be like to have transparency in your communication? Showing respect for not only the differences of opinion but also of character?
  • How would it look and feel if everyone shared the same understanding of where you were trying to get to?
  • How much more value could you add if you had trust in your team to deliver what was asked of them?
  • How much more of your valuable time would that free up?
  • How would it feel to have that extra time and money as a result of improvements in your culture
  • How would it feel seeing the impact that your changes are making to the business’ bottom line? as well as your employee’s well-being?
  • How much more challenging and fulfilling would your work life be?

3. Feeling the pain of that gap from where you are now to where you’d like to be? What can you do about it? Time to commit to action. In your commitment, perhaps reflect upon…

  • What you can and will do to change how you communicate as a leader in your organisation?
  • How can you learn to trust your team to deliver against the vision that you’re all working to?
  • How can you create an environment of trust where employees can communicate more freely, more effectively?
  • What can you do to be considered a trustworthy employee/manager/leader and be respected for the consistency you display?
  • What will you do to encourage new ways of working in your team/dept/division?
  • How will you measure the success of that change on yours and the business’s time and money?
  • What change will you specifically make as an individual?

The culture of a business is formed mostly from unwritten rules – how we listen, how we communicate and how much trust there is all form part of an organisation’s culture. And whilst culture isn’t something that can be changed overnight, we can each contribute to a shift in that culture by making little effort and taking small steps to do things differently… each of us contributing, every single day.

A final thought…

Let me leave you with this…

“ When we judge, our thoughts and words have an emotional charge that can be hurtful. When people feel judged, they stop trusting.” – Ken Blanchard et al