Leadership and…Snap Judgements: Clearly Irresponsible Driver
March 10, 2010 Leave a comment
We never have all of the information that the other person does. Why are we so quick to judge? Here is a recent example of how a well-meaning person can go wrong. There is a strong message here for leaders…
I was driving on an errand and was waiting for the light in order to turn left onto a busy street. Suddenly the person in front of me in the left turn lane darted to the right and into the traffic going straight! I was flabbergasted. This was clearly irresponsible driving. What were they thinking?? Feeling content that I was a better driver than that, and would never do such a thing, I waited for the light to change…and waited…and waited. A couple of minutes later I realized that the light was stuck and was not going to change and I was trapped at a busy intersection, with cars on all sides.
So, now what was I thinking about the “irresponsible driver” who had been in front of me at the light? It was some other innocent person who had become trapped at a busy intersection…and their “irresponsible” solution was looking like the only one!
The only thing that changed was that I became aware of a small piece of information that made the “irresponsible” actions of the driver in front of me suddenly make sense. In most cases, there is a logical explanation for why people do the things they do. Sometimes as leaders we are so loudly criticizing an employee’s “irresponsible” actions that we don’t hear the small piece of information that makes it all make sense to them.
When you find yourself being quick to judge a person, remember that you do not have all of the information that they have. No two people will ever have all of the same information and will not imagine the context for what they are doing in exactly the same way. Be slow to judge. Most people are just trying to do a good job of getting through a complex life, like you are. Look for that small piece of information that you need to complete the puzzle.
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