It is very natural for us to make judgments. Sometimes our judgments turn out quite negative because we assume what people think about us. We interpret their behavior and explain them in our own words. More than likely, these judgments done are just suppositions, speculations or assumptions. They are merely Conjectures. The assumptions we make about people at work are just informing us of the following things:
- Our self-judgment
- Our values
- Our needs
- Our expectations
- Our mindset
- Our position about a specific topic
Next time you find yourself assuming something about someone else’s’ thoughts or what he/she is doing, remind yourself that it is a reflection of your inner being, of yourself, and not the other person. We speculate on things based on what we see and experience. It is sometimes difficult to make the difference between a stoic observation and an assumption because we are used to interpreting everything to avoid getting hurt.
Speculating or assuming things about people can become problematic when it encourages us to:
- Disconnect from others
- Start a conflict
- Become uncooperative
- React negatively (scream, diminish others, ignore your own needs…)
This is one of the reasons why I always encourage people to differentiate observation and conjectures. This awareness will help you work on yourself and become free from the negative effect of judging others.
Observation is neutral
It is usually easier said than done. Observing someone else’s behavior should be done by using action verbs. The enumeration of someone’s actions does not call for an emotional reaction until we judge the action as being good or bad. The difference between what is good or bad comes from a mix of education, culture, experiences and personal preferences. They can be grouped under the category of “mindset” or “mental map”. Our brain is using shortcuts to help us navigate the world. This is the reason why we judge other. It helps us to quickly identify the action we should take: “fight, fly, freeze”. These shortcuts are awesome to survive in nature but are a hindrance in the office because we are not endangered or facing extinction right now. The real consequences in a company are even harder to recognize as they do not always follow immediately our action.
Judgment is charged
Someone leaving a meeting before the end of it is an observation. Saying that this is rude for me comes from my French culture and education. I was told to wait until the end before leaving a meeting even if it meant staying 30 minutes longer. On the other side of the table, my German colleagues find it totally normal. Their argument “Ich habe ein anderen Termin” (I have another appointment). In the German culture, it is acceptable to leave a meeting if you have other engagements. Who is right? Who is wrong? No one! Because we were raised to judge certain behavior differently.
[bctt tweet=”You will never stop judging others but you can learn from the inner dialogue. #self-development #BetterSelfatWork #WorkRelationship” username=”@acgraber_”]
Learn from your judgmental “side” in order to growI am sure that while reading those lines you could think of several situations where your judgment proved you wrong. The good news is that you should not stop judging people because you can’t take out something that is inherent in you but you can use it as a self-development tool.
[bctt tweet=”What is my judgement telling me about myself?” username=”acgraber_”]
Growth is enabled by our capacity to self-reflect and our decision to change a behavior or way of thinking. Seen that way we can utilize the judgmental us because it really gives us the keys to our own growth.
How can you make sure you observe and not judge?
It would take a while to unlearn conjecturing because it is automatic. It is an opinion or assumption that happens immediately as you experience something. Even if you learn how to make less conjecture , there are always time when you come back to judgment. Even for me, I am quite alright at seeing myself judging people (and/or conjecturing about the person). I mentally say to myself, “Anne-Cécile, you have gone too far. You are the judge and this person is not what you think he/she is”. After reflection, this is the process I follow to observe more and learn from my judgment.
- Am I judging/conjecturing?
- What am I learning from listening to my judgment(s)?
- Do I believe this judgment will be / is useful to me?
- What belief would I prefer to have? e.g. I believe that this person is doing her best and do not try to harm me.
- What else could be the reason for their behavior (that is not related to me)?
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