Leadership is Nonjudgmental

A director was talking to me about one of her employees when she said something that made me stop and think  – “He’s a great leader. I just wish he wasn’t so judgmental.” She continued talking but I was stuck on those two sentences. Is it possible for a leader to be both “great” and “judgmental”? I have decided I don’t think so and here’s why:

Very little is actually black or white. When it comes to how work is done, doing something a different way doesn’t make it wrong. A good leader understands the importance of asking why, listening to the answer and deciding if they need to learn, teach or let it go based on the response.

Labeling someone “wrong” leaves no room for growth. Being a leader includes the ability to see potential in others and to help develop it. Making a snap decision that someone is not very bright or not cut out for an assignment doesn’t allow for stretch goals, learning or development.

When we feel judged we don’t feel safe. Nothing will make someone shutdown faster than feeling like a score is being kept and a day of reckoning is coming. It makes employees secretive, less trusting and less likely to bring up a problem or ask for help. A good leader knows those behaviors create an unhealthy and unproductive environment.
Judgment is distracting. When employees hear their boss being judgmental toward other leaders or employees it creates a culture of gossip and grudges. When our behavior is being discussed in a “Can you believe what he/she just said” kind of way people might follow us out of fear but they won’t respect us.

Judgment has a trickledown effect. Those who are judged will judge. With everyone in an organization judging everyone else there will be nitpicking, criticizing and faultfinding across the board. If you want your team to become leaders you need to model good leadership.

Catching ourselves being judgmental can be tough. We can be all the way down the road of blame and self-righteousness before we know it. Reminding ourselves that we didn’t always know it all, had to learn through mistakes and being thankful for those who taught us can help us be a better leader.

That’s not to say that as a leader you shouldn’t correct mistakes, giving guidance and feedback and even reprimand when necessary. What it does mean is that we need to be aware of our motivation. Are we doing it from a place meant to make the other person better or from a place of feeling superior? 

As always, I wish you the MOST from your potential!

Doc Robyn

PS - I believe the space between people, how we communicate, deal with disagreement and motivate ourselves and others, is where the fine line between success and failure is drawn. What to learn more? Contact me to discuss working with me.

Dr. Robyn Odegaard (aka “Doc Robyn”) is internationally known motivational speaker, executive coach and corporate trainer. As CEO of Champion Performance Development, she works with executives, professionals, athletes, and coaches to help them achieve excellence by sharing active leadership, powerful teamwork, conscious communication, Productive Conflict™ and professional disagreement skills. She is the founder of the Stop The Drama! Campaign and author of the books Stop The Drama! The Ultimate Guide to Female Teams and The Ultimate Guide to Handling Every Disagreement Every Time. To work with her, have her present to your team, request a custom workshop or invite her to speak at your event, please call 302-307-3091 or email her at DocRobyn@ChampPerformance.com to discuss her availability.

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