Be Slow to Judge
I am always on the lookout for talent. Not just people with skills or good business sense, but more importantly I am always looking for people with great leadership qualities, because these people are a great asset to any company. One of the key features that I appreciate in a leader is decisiveness. The wisdom to quickly assess any situation, make judgments and propose a solution.
1. We Usually Don’t Know the Whole Story
How many times have you seen people who jump to conclusion without learning all the facts? How many people make abusive comments and inaccurate conclusions based on just the title of news articles, and not the whole report?
Don’t get me wrong. I respect everyone’s freedom to express their opinion; but I do believe with that freedom come with a certain amount of responsibility.
When we judge, do we know all the relevant details? Do we know why the people involved did what they did?
Judging on incomplete information is counterproductive—and sometimes can be very harmful. Before we make a move, we should make certain we have enough information. If circumstances force us to move without all the details, we should be humble, open to correction, and ready to change our opinion.
2. Our Judgements are Often Coloured by Our Own Issues
We all have our own issues, mistakes and insecurities in life. Because we’re so familiar with our own issues, we tend to notice them everywhere we turn, even—especially—in others. Sometimes, even when said issue does not exist in a situation, we assume it does.
For example, a person who constantly lies might be paranoid and think that everyone else is also just as capable of lying as he is.
When we don’t have the full story, we sometimes assume that others have the same problem as we do. It’s unconscious, but it means we’ve assigned motives and condemned someone when we are really just imagining things. The only way to stop this is to be aware that it may happen, and be very careful about it.
3. We Usually Regret It Later
When we realise that we have misunderstood someone, regret comes next. This is especially true if the person we misunderstood is someone we love, and that misunderstanding has caused tension in our relationship. Apologies can sometimes remedy the situation, but it might not work all the time.
In social media, there is less personal relationship involved. During this Olympics season, for example. Everyone in the world can freely tweet and criticise any athlete they want, without worrying too much about repercussions. That doesn’t mean that it is more OK to misjudge. The harsh criticism against athletes can amount to cyber-bullying, or gossips can damage the reputation of a person.
It also speaks badly of ourselves. When we continuously make inaccurate judgments of people, it reflects poorly on us too.
Life and death are in the power of the tongue, a wise man once said. This is a quote I hold dearly, as I also need to remind myself to never judge too quickly. Let’s use our words wisely.