Sitting in judgement

It is such a shame that the prevailing assumption seems to be that management are there to judge whether people have done their jobs well enough or not. In fact it is worse than that. It often creeps into the both parties feeling as if the judgement is not just that they have made a mistake but that they themselves are somehow intrinsically not good enough.

We are trained into this in school. We take for granted the idea that if you don’t get good enough grades in your exams you have failed but this slips unnoticed into you not being good enough as a person and also that someone else is in a position to judge this to be the case.

But failing at things is how we learn. We never get anything right first time. By pretending otherwise we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to learn. We then stop taking chances and stop growing just in case we are judged a failure.

We know when we have made a mistake, and more often than not we know where we went wrong. We don’t need someone else to tell us that. But we often end up giving in to the prevailing culture, not taking responsibility for our actions, and wait for someone else to do it for us.

We all fail at things all the time but none of it is any indication of our intrinsic worth as a person. Giving in and letting others take responsibility is!

10 thoughts on “Sitting in judgement

  1. Euan. Agree. A thought. Your last sentence can be considered as a failing and it is recoverable. Our intrinsic worth is not fixed.

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  2. Excellent thoughts! Even though I am retired now after a long career, where my work was appreciated I still tend to feel that I might have to defend some decision I made or a choice that did not work out as intended. I am much more able now to see my “failures” as learning experiences that provide opportunities to improve.

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  3. You raise an extremely important point, Ewan, which is rarely if ever addressed. How we respond to people senior to us at work could be usefully studied at the beginning of our working lives. As you say, our behaviour is formed at school and, earlier, in the family. Time spent working with this would be worth a shelf of management books.

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  4. I see the role of a manager not just to be one of people but also other resources all of which are finite and could be used in different ways and thus the role is one to maximise the value/potential of what you have.

    The problem is poor management which seems to be more common than good management. When I started work I was engaged on a three year contract that committed to train and development me. Over that period of time I was taught my role and tested before being awarded a qualification, I was also mentored by others and given access to a library of books that were expected read to lift my level of knowledge. I was then sent on other training courses of the next five years aimed at training me to be a manager. Some of it was about transferring a culture to me that I was expected to transfer/enforce with those that I managed other was aimed to provide the skills needed so that the manager above me did not have to do my role. Performance reviews told me what I did well and what I did not.

    Over 30 years later I look at what my daughters and their peers now get at the start of their careers and do not see the same allocation of budgets to train and develop skills.

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