Like George W. Bush recently said, “Too often, we judge other groups by their worst examples while judging ourselves by our best intentions … “
This hypocrisy of judgment harms our ability to be fair to others and ensures that we get in our own way when it comes to decision-making. We should try (and I repeat try — nobody is perfect) to not have conditions or judgments placed upon anything or anyone.
How we judge others
People typically judge others on two main qualities. First, we judge people on how warm they are: whether they are friendly and well-intentioned. Second, we also judge them on their perceived competence: whether they have the ability to deliver on their good intentions or not.
More often than not, studies show that we see those who are warm as less than competent, and those who are competent are viewed as less warm.
People often try to lump people into strict categories, whether they are appropriate or not. When we judge warmth, rivalry also tends to be a factor. Our need to be separate or superior or inferior comes out, and competitors are usually seen as unfriendly, no matter how they act.
Related: 4 Ways to Tame Your Negativity Bias
Bias and judgment
There are different types of biases we need to be aware of when we are placing judgments or conditions on others.
1. Ego bias. This is the over-reliance on one’s own experience, which leads to people getting in their own way and unnecessarily separating themselves from others.
2. Hindsight bias, where we believe that past events we have experienced will accurately predict the future. Yet another type of bias is called anchoring, which occurs when we over-rely on familiar but irrelevant information. We focus on something immaterial to a decision when anchoring, reducing our ability to make a correct judgment.
3. Zero-risk bias, which is caused when we try to avoid risk altogether, missing out on opportunities for risk reduction and harming our bottom-line in the process.
Making good business decisions
One of my favorite quotes on judgment in a business setting comes from the co-authors of Judgment Calls: Twelve Big Stories of Big Decisions and the Teams that Got Them Right: “Successful enterprises don’t think about the single heroic leader; instead they build judgment into the organization overall. That begins, simply enough, with the leader who recognizes it must be more than him or her alone — and sets into motion an ego-less transformation to build a wider support system of knowledge, wisdom and experience all around.”
The ideas mentioned by the above authors encompass value-based leadership, where companies operate on a core set of values which do not change.
This form of leadership is extremely effective, which is why our company is based on the principles of gratitude, empathy, accountability and effective communication. Being thankful and forgiving are important for relationships, both business and personal. Accountability empowers our team to learn from the mistakes they make and the difficulties they experience. Effective communication shows us not only how to connect to inspiration, but to help others in their journeys while staying inspired and connecting to that which inspires us.
If you want to be your best self, you need to make a concerted effort to drop all judgments and conditions. Avoid the hypocrisy of judgment, as well as the biases that come with it. Focus on trying to help more and judge others less.