“Great Spirit, help me never to judge another until I have walked in his moccasins.”
~Sioux Indian Prayer

“I would never do it that way,” we think when we see someone on our staff take a wrong stab at a problem. “What are they thinking?” we wonder, as we watch them blunder through the situation. “Don’t they know anything?” we shout aloud, at least in our own minds.

It is extremely easy to judge someone – to view their actions with disdain and criticize their feeble attempts and uneducated guesses at answers. But we honestly don’t know why their approach is as it is. We don’t know what they’re dealing with, what they know, what they’ve experienced, or how they view things themselves. Without this knowledge, our judgment is often skewed.

I remember years ago getting into a friend’s car and looking with contempt at the mess. At that time she had a child, and I had none. Now that I’ve two of my own, I understand the car and the food wrappers thrown about. I remember disdainfully watching a colleague run out of steam while we were working on a huge project…only later to find out that he was ill and pushing himself too far as it was (which I honestly didn’t fully understand until I was hit with a major illness myself). I remember thinking sales was easy…until I had to sell for a living. Thinking public speaking was a no-brainer until I found myself in front of a large audience. Thinking my boss was an idiot and cruel until I had to manage others myself.

I now try and remember that everyone around me is most likely doing the best they can, and I work to gain an understanding of their perspective, situation, challenges, needs, and moccasins.

Next time you find yourself judging someone else, stop and work to understand why they may be doing what they’re doing.

Where are you judging someone else? What benefit of doubt can you give them (and yourself)?
Please leave a comment.

If you enjoyed this post, you can read more like it in our book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership: 101 Minutes To Being the Leader You Want To Be, available on Amazon.

If you want to be better able to walk in their moccasins, contact Lisa at lkohn@chatsworthconsulting.com.

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