A participant in one of my leadership university classes just told me how much better the program could be if we just did it in one session instead of spread out over a year. Good feedback. She missed the long list of reasons why we chose the approach we did though. No big deal.
However, this wasn’t her first piece of negative feedback. From the first moment, she judged the process, the content, and a number of other aspects. Discerning, maybe. I think judgmental.
Here’s what I’m worried about for her. Did she learn anything? It’s hard to listen while you’re talking. Judging an activity keeps you so busy that it’s difficult to extract the value you need. I discussed her ideas to make the program better. I also asked her how she was doing, implementing a key component of the program. Unfortunately she wasn’t aware of this item. She missed it.
As a professional speaker and with the work done with clients I sit through many presentations. The great majority of these presentations are horrible. A trick I learned a long time ago is to look for the hidden value in the rotten presentation. I could spend the hour judging the speaker or I can use that time to extract the hidden nugget of value. There is always value.
Through experience I can usually tell if the presentation is going to be great in the first 30 seconds or so. If I made my judgement and walked out of the room I would have missed volumes of valuable knowledge.
How about with people? That member of your team who seems disconnected? Perhaps they’re wrestling with the problem that will turn your business around. If you’re judging their behavior first, we might miss that value.
As a leader it’s critical to get the whole picture. Extract the value. Judgment masks the value. Suspend judgement. Experience the value.
Let me know in the comments how suspending judgement made a difference for you.