Judging versus Supporting Others

Good VS Evil
Image by Sabrintha Linda

You know the old glass is half full metaphor.

Well, that applies to the way we talk about and critique others. We can support the strong points someone offers, or we can tear them up.

This is particularly true of teams, communities and other group activities.

Harvard Business Review ran a great piece by Rosabeth Kanter a few months ago about creating a positive culture of respect.

“Winners can maintain high aspirations and act generously toward others,” said Kanter. “Losers are more likely to blame others and disdain them as mediocre, creating a culture of finger-pointing and infighting.”

This struck me. I’m not a good manager of people.

But one thing I have learned from those experiences that I apply is the need to focus on the positive. When I focus on people’s positive attributes and celebrate them publicly and privately things go so much smoother.

It’s not that I don’t see their negative sides. Believe me, I am a judgmental jerk, and the person I judge the most is myself. But when things are going well, I choose to ignore flaws.

This is true of when I’m a team player, too.

Conversely, the negativity of harsh judgment and criticism only makes for a bad situation. Even if I don’t voice that criticism, I really dislike participating in team efforts with people.

Notice that the people’s actual actions have very little to do with the outcome.

Rather, it has everything to do with whether I am judging them, or accepting them for who they are.

When I find myself in a negative place with others where things don’t look so rosy, I need to check my thinking.

Am I levying judgment or am I supporting others’ strengths?

It’s not just work, too. Even over Thanksgiving Dinner, I can cherish the great things about family members, or pick them a part. The prior usually means I’ll have a good time, while the latter leads to a toxic affair.

What do you think of team play, positive and negative?

And have a Happy Thanksgiving, this will be the last post here until Monday. I’ll see you next week!