Judgmental Leadership Stunts Growth and Development

July 31 judgment

Lately, I’ve been finding the amount of judgment in the online world overwhelming. Comments about certain political leaders which are as critical and condemning as the leader’s original behaviour was.

Judgment creates blocked energy which invites more criticism, less compassion and diminishes opportunities for change. Judgment and the negativity that goes along with it becomes a dark shadow that prevents growth.

In the research of Rosenthal and Jacobson, teachers were falsely told that some of their students had been identified as potential high achievers and that they would excel during the school year. These students were chosen at random regardless of their previous scholastic abilities. At the end of the school year, the students who were identified as “high achievers” were more likely to make the greatest gains in the classroom.

As Bradley Busch, Psychologist writes,

No one rises to low expectations. Having high expectations of each and every student and then providing the necessary support needed to achieve that level seem key to all students achieving to their best ability.”

What happens when these judgments become a daily experience in your non-profit? Or when you judge a team member or team as incapable?

That judgment creates a bias for you that is transferred to the employee and team. The team member will experience this energy through their mirror neurons as tension and discomfort. It may also be experienced through the words that you choose to speak, your body language or your para-verbal communication (the tone, and volume of your words). Whichever way, it will impact your team member in a manner that can prevent growth and development.

For example, one client that I worked with the Senior Leadership team repeatedly said: “the employees don’t have the capacity to do the level of work that we require.” This statement was fully believed by the leadership team. And almost daily, they saw evidence of it (now of course, subconsciously they were seeking the evidence that validated their perception).

When we stopped and looked at the successes and awards that the organization had achieved, the leadership team was in awe! With their bias, they had been unable to fully acknowledge the incredible abilities that lay within their team members. Once the leadership team was able to acknowledge the strengths in the team, the results swiftly began to shift from discouragement to encouragement and success.

Take a look at how you are placing judgments on yourself and your team members. What might you not be seeing or noticing that offers the opportunity for encouragement and growth?

Remove those judgments from yourself and your team, then you can start to grow and they can develop into their potential. Then celebrate those wins!