I have sometimes shamefully sat and judged others for their weaknesses, foibles and mistakes.

Rather than looking at the issue, or the action/decision a person may have taken, I have unleashed a vitriol of judgement on that person for doing that particular ‘thing’.

Even if the judgement takes place in my head, it still takes place. 

And if I’m truly honest, I have on occasion believed I would have handled their ‘mistake’ much better than they did.

As leaders, the further up the organisational pyramid we go, the more we are judged.

And unfortunately, the higher we climb, the more we tend to wear this judgement hat.

Recently I found myself doing the very thing I had judged others harshly for in a professional environment.

I came to the squeamish realisation that when faced with a certain tricky situation, it was not as ‘black and white’ as I had previously thought.

Suddenly I had compassion for those I had previously judged and condemned so viciously who had faced the same thing.

And it hit me.

Experience is the bridge from judgement to compassion.

Learning to become a good leader (or person for that matter) is an ongoing journey. One with big mountains to climb, deserts to cross and deep valleys to navigate.

We all stumble and fall.

The Native American proverb…

Grant That I May Not Criticize My Neighbour
Until I Have Walked A Mile In His Moccasins

…is so poignant for leaders.

So the next time your judge –

– comes out in full force,  suspend its harsh verdict for a moment and instead remember this.

Seek to understand. Judgement has its day. It has its time and place. But too often The Judge is an overused card that is played. And played too soon. Compassion, on the other hand is a card rarely played. Sometimes not at all. 

You will not always have experience on your side, but seeking to understand first, will always be accessible to you as a leader.

See here for more on the role compassion plays in effective leadership and here for an exceptional blog on this topic.

Do you, at times find your inner judge taking centre stage?
When is judgement a good tool to use in leadership?

Please leave your comments in the space provided below.

If this resonates with you please share it.

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Leader's Digest.