No one can live up to the scrutiny of perfection. What is the posture of your mindset as you engage your relationships for discussion? A charitable judgment is believing the best of a situation until the facts have been gathered. A critical judgment believes the worst until proven otherwise.
Little Johnny comes home from school with a black eye emerging on his cheekbone. A recently promoted sales rep is evasive about reporting her numbers to you. The home improvement contractor leaves a message that he needs to talk. Where does your mind go first? Johnny is fighting again; the sales rep can't make quota; and the contractor is about to confirm your worst fears.
Our response may be consistent with everyone, or it may be relationship dependent. The history of hurts, wrongs, and disappointments will influence how we approach each situation. Our going in mindset impacts our physiology and engages our fight or flight response as we brace for the worst.
We are far better having a clear mind with steady emotions to hear the news vice amped up on cortisol and ready to attack. The skills to listen well and be empathetic, creative, and curious to navigate the bad news will not be primed to respond in a generous manner.
I have struggled with critical judgments when report cards are brought home. The end of a marking period, should be a time to engage with my kids and celebrate the accomplishments vice berating the lowest grade. It would take a mature child to say "Gee Dad, I see your concern. I would love to get your input about how I can turn this around, and I am all ears". Would you respond the same way to your boss if objectives were missed?
Let's establish a new standard of charitable judgments and believe the best of others. If you are wrong, you will find out in mere minutes and rarely will 60 seconds make or break the situation. It is your decision; what do you choose?
Going Further: What are charitable judgments you can imagine for Little Johnny, the sales rep, and the contractor? What is the basis for your critical judgments? How would leading with a charitable judgment change your conversations? How would approaching with charitable judgments impact employee relationships during performance evaluations?