Judgment At Work: Pros & Cons

You and I are a bit judgmental; actually… we judge a lot. I bet today you’ve already judged:

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

  • Yourself
  • Others
  • Things
  • Needs
  • Actions
  • Expectations / Outcomes
  • Value / Worth

Judging is bad… We should stop… Right?

No! It’s how we survive and get things done. Don’t even try to stop – it’s not possible. Judging helps us know how to behave and what to expect.

Example: You are standing on a street corner wanting to cross the street. You evaluate if you have enough time before the car coming toward you gets to you. That’s judgment… and it’s good.

But judging does have a bad reputation and that’s because of what we do once we… judge. It’s the negativity we layer on top of our judgment (for some people all of their judgment), and the assumptions we make instead of just letting things be what they are.

Example: You see an associate doing some analysis and you think “They have no common sense doing it ‘THAT’ way. ‘MY’ way is so much better.” This incident seems trivial, but the impact of your judgement and assumption can be huge. It has the risk of putting you into a negative mood and impacts the long-term value you place on that associate. You might even mention your ‘judgment’ and your ‘assumption’ to someone else – further risking your associates’ reputation and perhaps even their career. Why? No good reason except we negatively judged someone for doing something different from how you would do it. That’s judgment… and it’s bad.

Instead, imagine if we accept that there’s often more than one solution and that listening or learning from others with openness might bring a perspective and creativity that wasn’t previously there.

“The best way to grow is to step outside of your comfort zone.” ~ Bruce Mayhew

What If You Paused Before You Act?

Often we make incorrect judgments because we only have some of the information… or because we started making assumptions while we were listening. We judge without seeing the big picture.

When we run into negativity, we need to start a new habit of acknowledging it and looking at it unemotionally. This will help us be open to new possibilities. Try learning what’s going on. Maybe what we are seeing / feeling is just different from what we are used to – not necessarily bad or wrong.

“It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” ~Henry David Thoreau

Judgment helps us make appropriate choices based on our knowledge, experience, personal values, corporate values and objectives. We just need to remember that no two people share identical experiences or memorize the exact same information.

Judgment Can Enhance Customer Satisfaction

Judgment can be about businesses, products, services and department. It can also positively impact our relationships and trust with our customers.

Example: If I expect to get bad service from my telephone service provider, it’s likely I’ll be a bit more rigid, short-tempered and less polite than if I expect a warm helpful relationship.

However, if I can get my customers and prospects to expect great, friendly, helpful service AND I train my staff how to be mindful of their feelings and fully understand what my communication expectations are, then it’s likely my customer WILL get greater customer service because they’ll be friendlier (good judgment), and my staff will be more helpful (good judgment)… which makes for happy customers who then talk to their friends… and we have happy employees with greater job satisfaction and therefore motivation and on and on and on…

Imagine the competitive advantage good judgment can bring you in new customers and recurring sales.


We can turn judgment into a productive process by not focusing on a range of unpleasant.

Make room in your day and your relationships for things to happen that may not be ‘perfect’ – whatever perfect is. Things and people are not always going to work out exactly as expected… or should I say as you wished.

Things happen; the secret is to respond… not to react.

Let things evolve without negative judgment… use positive judgment. Even this blog post has gone through a few edits… it didn’t come out perfect the first time; it still might not be… but I think it’s pretty good. In fact it’s different from I expected because I allowed myself some space to brainstorm and explore some of my thoughts. Does that mean the first draft was disappointing? Actually, I was pretty happy with the direction it had taken.

Try to see the glass half-full and acknowledge what is good – and the people who are good.


Managing judgment well means you recognize you don’t have all the answers and that you have to rely on others – which means you have to also support others.

Quality, non-biased judgment, clear vision and open, mindful communication are important to a healthy organization and relationships at all levels (associates / clients).

Happy communicating.

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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.

Find answers to your Professional Development questions / needs at brucemayhewconsulting.com.

Give us a call at 416 617 0462. We’ll listen.

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I’d enjoy reading your comments on this post.

About Bruce Mayhew
Bruce Mayhew is a Leadership Coach, Keynote Speaker and Corporate Trainer who builds strong client and co-worker relationships that give clients a competitive advantage. Our training and development programs include: ■Generational Differences ■Effective Business Email Writing ■Email Etiquette ■Phone Etiquette ■Behaviour Event Interviewing (BEI) ■Mindfulness ■Using Linkedin to Build Client Relationships ■Objective Setting Made Easy

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