As I’ve gotten older, I realize that we all do the best we can with what we’ve got at the time. I don’t believe that anyone wakes up in the morning and decides to be a screw-up. We all have bad days and we all go through difficult times. Those trials influence our thoughts and actions, so sometimes bad decisions are made. Bad decisions do not make bad people.
If you believe that, as I do, then it never makes sense to judge people. Does that mean that I never fall into the “judging trap”? Of course not – I do, because I’m human and make bad decisions. However, as I’ve matured, when I find myself heading down that judging path I am usually able to stop myself.
A better choice would be to invest in the people around you. Let them know you care about them – personally and professionally. Help them grow in knowledge and confidence. Find out what their goals are and try to help them achieve them.
If you are an employer or a manager of others, make sure that you clearly communicate your expectations, their job responsibilities and consequences for non-performance. Then, hold EVERYONE accountable. Do not treat one person more favorably than another – be fair and equitable!
If you find that someone is unable to fulfill the job requirements, even after training, coaching and reprimanding, then let them go. Realize that YOU made a bad hiring decision – not that they are incapable. It was just the wrong job for them. But, no one should ever be surprised when they are terminated. You owe them honest communication throughout their employment.
On the personal side, as a parent, we want our children to never make a bad decision. Why? Well, for many reasons. First of all, as a parent we sometimes get caught in the trap of believing that a child’s bad decision is the equivalent of shouting to the world that we are a bad parent. So, we internalize their mistake and count it as ours. Not wanting to carry the label of “bad parent”, we then overreact and begin to micro-manage their lives. Second, as a loving parent, we just don’t want to see our children suffer the consequences of a bad decision. Finally, for those of us who are grandparents, we don’t want to see our children’s bad decisions affect the lives of our precious grandchildren.
Isn’t it funny how wise we’ve become with age? The same mistakes we made with our own children are now appalling to us as we see our children make the same errors in judgment. But, along with age also comes the ability to see what’s really important in life. To me – that’s the relationships I have. I made the mistake of criticizing my daughter a few days ago. Yes, the criticism was warranted, but in my concern, fear and anger, I did not take the time to choose my words or moderate my tone of voice. I still get upset when I remember her face and tear-filled eyes. My approval means so much to her, so my criticism carries far too much importance.
My New Year’s Resolution is to get back on track and stop judging others – particularly those I love the most!