You Might Be Judging People and Not Even Know It

You Might Be Judging People and Not Even Know It


This morning I had the privilege of attending a talk led by Joshua Spodek, the author of Leadership Step by Step: Become The Person Others Follow.  Marshall Goldsmith invited me to this talk. Marshall has been recognized as the World’s #1 Leadership Thinker and the #1 Executive Coach. He associates himself with thinkers who through the generosity of their time and expertise can bring forth a positive change in people. As a result, I had to personally attend this globally televised talk.

The backstory behind my journey to this three-hour experience at NYU, is that I’m on a mission to expand the services and products that my career coaching practice can deliver to the world. It is in this quest, that I’m committed to rubbing elbows and learning from elite coaches who will accept my company. It was with this drive, that I propped myself out of bed at 5:30am and hopped on that 6:28am Metro-North train on a Saturday morning.

Now, I could certainly talk to Joshua’s main points and comment on his well-organized and thoughtful exercises. I could write thousands of words on what I got out of his approach in how leaders can take an interest in their teams and authentically use this knowledge to deeply motivate them.

However, I want to thank Joshua instead for pointing out a subtle nuance that I hadn’t considered before when it comes to engaging with others. Apparently, I judge people? Who, knew?

The interesting twist is that after Joshua’s talk, I now see how I can make someone feel judged even when I think I’m complimenting them. Here I thought I was affirming in others their choices – it seems that my “good jobs” could be taken in very different ways depending on how I communicated (or didn’t) throughout the rest of a conversation.

Let me explain.

Joshua pointed out that you are in fact judging someone whether you are using positive, or negative words to state your opinion regarding their choices.

Imagine that you are trying to make a meaningful connection with someone who loves falconry and basket-weaving.  You might say that falconry is “good” and say nothing at all about basket-weaving. You offer no comment – dead silence about basket-weaving.

In this case, the multi-passionate hobbyist might think to himself – “wow, falconry is good yet basket-weaving doesn’t stack up to his standards of ‘good’ hobbies?” >>> what a jerk!

If I was the one judging the hobbyist, in this case, I could have turned what may have been a trusting and meaningful connection to a bit of an awkward interaction with few places to go but downhill – especially, if this is the first impression that this hobbyist has of me.

My plan is to consciously be aware of this behavior in myself and to read Joshua’s book because I’m convinced that it must have so many more insights – but I won’t judge their validity in either direction, instead I’ll let those with whom I interact feel the difference.




About the author

Melissa Llarena: is the CEO and career coach behind Career Outcomes Matter. Her craft is coaching top executives on how to dissect and deliver the perfect job interview. Her client base includes US-based as well as international business leaders with 15-plus years of experience who are undeniably really good at what they do yet simply want a strategic partner who can quickly fully understand their tangible and intangible contributions to effectively scale up their interviewing skills for the toughest interviews. Click to gain instant access to her 20-page interview preparation kit to gain an edge then schedule a phone call to see how she’d leverage her most powerful insights based on your unique situation -- all in time for your next interview.