Empty your judgement before you speak

Jan 11, 2016 | Ideas for Organisation

These Shape the World Thoughts have guided business leaders and workplaces since 2012 to help create a culture of purpose-driven creativity. You may use them for personal reflection or for group sharing. If you like, do share your experiences on our LinkedIn or facebook pages

We live in an increasingly polarized world and you are perceived as strong if you can hold onto opinions even though you might be wrong. This is why the world is still unable to make any meaningful headway in solving pressing global issues such as the refugee situation or how to combat extreme poverty. Too many of us have already decided before we come to any discussion. This situation is unfortunate because even though the 21st century is endowed with so much knowledge, we are unable to build on each other’s perspectives to shape a better world. Therefore, if we aspire to lead the new world order, then we must use all of our strength to empty our judgement before we speak. If we can do this, then we will increase the possibilities of reaching smart compromises, focus on meaningful solutions and transform the future.

Empty your judgement before you speak

As you strive to build bigger teams, the greatest challenge is not about managing growth but how to make space for each other’s opinions and preferences. More people mean increased complexity of human dynamics and if not handled properly, can have huge ramifications and stall engines of growth. Therefore emptying one’s judgement, again and again, is important because if these judgements keep stacking up, then instead bridges, we will continue to have ghettos. We can see these problems every day, politicians, business people, even activists because they could not empty themselves; they grow more judgmental of each other resulting in gridlock. When a person says something, a filter immediately emerges and most of the time only the bad thoughts and judgements about the person appears. Many a times, we don’t know the other person that well and yet we label them.

Empty your judgement before you speak

A good leader must have the capacity and generosity to be patient with others before offering an opinion. It is an important training for the work that we do because unless we can empty ourselves, we cannot be effective in our work. Every day we might meet a broad spectrum of people from entrepreneurs, professionals, youth, young adults, seniors, creatives and many others from all over. Without this skill, you will not be able to understand the root causes of problems. As a community of ideas, we need to establish a culture of patience so as to nurture a dense forest of ideas. To do that, we cannot shoot new ideas down in an instant. We need to remind each other so that we become a fertile ground for good ideas to take root and grow into solutions. This healthy diversity of approaches enables us to see an issue from different perspectives covering all areas.

So how do you start to build a culture open to new ideas. Here are the guidelines:

  1. When someone speaks, do you immediately feel that he/she is talking nonsense, if yes, then you have not emptied yourself.
  2. When someone makes a mistake, do you directly link it back to the past and blame him/her, if yes, then you have not emptied yourself.

Perhaps the following approach will help you

  1. Lose a judgement the moment it happens!
  2. Lose the opportunity to gloat or criticize the person when a mistake happens!
  3. Sometimes winning in an instance is less important than winning in the long term, together. If you empty your judgement, you will keep the possibility of partnership alive!

An Experience to illustrate this

This must be one of the hardest things to do, and it still is a difficult thing to do, especially when you have past experiences, such as the recent episode with one of the newer colleague. I reflected on my process of correspondence with her. Initially, I had the impression that she had little working experience, which seemed to explain why she acts in a certain way. However, over the past few weeks of interacting with her, I learnt more about her and realized that, despite her younger age, there are still many things that she said made sense. For example, when she pointed out that the client was picking on me (and this point was later confirmed by another colleague), I realized that her alternative perspective did make sense.

A strategist at Consulus.

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