Posted by Anni M.
Being judgmental comes rather naturally to human beings. We are social creatures. Throughout our lives, but primarily when we are young, we look to other people for cues about how we should speak, dress, and think. Once we decide what is proper, we do our best to meet our own standards and we notice when other people don’t fall in line. Why is the new hire wearing shorts in the office? My co-worker sounds so unprofessional when he uses the word, “like.” Doesn’t my boss understand that Mitt Romney will ruin our country? The wisest among us keep these judgments to themselves, but it’s very natural to want to share our judgments with our friends. After all, shared values are what many friendships are based on and we learn what values we share by sharing our judgments. But this can be deeply problematic in an office environment. Not only do our judgments betray our prejudices, they also betray our willingness to jump to conclusions, to judge character based on frivolous standards. Whether or not someone wears shorts, says “like”, or supports Mitt Romney, doesn’t really say anything about that person’s value as a team member. You may not want to spend your weekends together but you don’t have to. You do, on the other hand, have to work together.
The first step is to keep your judgments private. Resist the urge to share them with the person sitting next to you. Don’t gossip in the bathroom or by the proverbial water cooler. As soon as a judgment pops into your head, try to let it go. Don’t dwell. This can be a difficult exercise in self-control, especially if you are used to sharing your thoughts, but it will help you to protect your own reputation, and to be more open-minded in the process.
Remember: what you say can easily get around. Even if you’re talking to a co-worker in confidence, offices are full of people. People listen and people talk. Having a co-conspirator is fun and it’s easy to trust someone to keep a secret—you’re burning to tell it and she’s excited to hear it. It’s much harder to actually keep a secret. Knowing what other people are thinking is deeply fascinating. Don’t blame your co-worker for egging you on!
In the end, ideally, we would all be open-minded, reserving judgment for times when it’s deserved. I think that’s something that takes years of practice. In the meantime, try to give the people around you the benefit of the doubt. Wouldn’t you want them to do that for you?
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs. BOOK VICTORIA.
As a Creative Communications Strategist, Victoria is known for her electrifying Keynote Performances™ and the transformational workshops and coaching sessions she creates for elite executives, high performing teams, thought leaders and entrepreneurs..