How to Stop Judging Others (at Least a Little)

Have you been judged for the brand of clothing you wear or car you drive? Or have you judged others for their Hunter Douglas boots and Canada Goose jacket or those who drive a BMW? These are some of the preconceived notions that we may make daily without even realizing it. 

Some research shows that people make judgements about others with just a blink of an eye while other research indicates that we make assumptions about others within the first 7 seconds of seeing them. In the workplace, these preconceived notions translate to labels like: “overqualified”, “inexperienced new grad”, “no Canadian experience” or

Generational labels are also too common in the information that we consume these days, such as Millennials, Generation X, Y, Z, or Baby Boomers. Workshops promoting multigenerational training may be flawed since generalized and preconceived notions about a group of people have already been made. 

Labelling people doesn’t address each individual’s unique life experiences or life stage. It’s not an accurate picture of the individual until you’ve had an opportunity to get to know them and move beyond subjective assumptions. Consider assessing yourself and others based on their performance, knowledge, skills and abilities - not who you think they are. This will help you to be less judgemental and take a more objective perspective. 

Your ability to first stay focused on yourself can help you to better stay neutral when observing others. Remember how you feel when you’ve been judged. Here are a few questions to consider when you feel the urge to judge others:

  • Who has the authority to label you? No one. Choose to silence your inner critic, increase your positive self-talk, and feel natural in your skin.

  • What do you have control over? You can control how you feel about yourself. Know your emotional triggers and work to manage them.

  • What’s most important to you right now? Reflect. Stay focused. The more focused you are on what’s important to you the less likely you’ll be distracted by the noise around you.

  • What are your strengths? Be aware of what tasks increase your energy and how you can incorporate them more into your work. First, you need to understand who you are. And when you’re confident in yourself and what you stand for then the weight of what others’ think of you shouldn’t matter.

ACTION: What can you do to silence your inner critic? When you catch yourself labelling someone based on your preconceived notions, what questions can you ask to learn about them on a deeper level?