March 20, 2020

Shift from judgment to perception


How to lead when you feel anxious and uncertain; start by leading yourself

“We see the world not as it is, but as we are.” This quote has been variously ascribed to Anais Nin, Immanuel Kant, Jo Coudert and Stephen Covey, among others. Whoever said it, it’s a notion that’s particularly useful given the uncertainty we face right now. Are your worries an inevitable response to this uncertainty, or are they a reflection of how you are?

We tend to think of our judgment as objective and rational, when in fact, it’s highly subjective and often more focused on rationalizing our interpretation of events than “reality.” The problem is that when we judge things to quickly, too harshly and too absolutely, we become rigid, eliminate options and increase our sense of helplessness.

To get back our sense of agency, hope and possibility, we need to shift from judgment to perception. To be perceptive is to be open, curious, creative and insightful; attributes that are extremely useful to a leader, especially one trying to cope with a challenging environment.

If you’d like to become less judgmental and more perceptive, the following actions can help you to make this shift:

  • Before you lock-in on what something means, ask yourself “what else could this mean?”
  • Notice your use of absolute adverbs like ‘always’, ‘never’ and ‘every time’; they are sure signs of judgment and very often signs of unhelpful exaggeration.
  • Detach from your ego and your need to be right. Instead, focus on what’s helpful or unhelpful.
  • Become more curious and open. Ask more questions. Actively look for alternative meanings in any situation.
  • Accept that your emotions are your responsibility. No one can make you feel anything without your compliance. Choose your emotions, intentionally, so that they serve you.
    Dr. Peter Fuda

    Dr. Peter Fuda

    Dr. Peter Fuda has been a Sherpa to leaders, teams and organizations across the globe as a consultant, coach, author, researcher, speaker and professor of management. VistaJet partners with leadership expert Dr Peter Fuda to support you during times of uncertainty.