On Leadership, Fairness and Judging People’s Mistakes

It just dawned on me today that as human beings, we all are guilty of judging people’s mistakes at one point or another. I sure am guilty of it.

People who have taken the MBTI  assessment know that some people have higher tendencies to judge than others. It is inherent in their personality. While it is not necessarily a bad thing to be judgmental, it is worthwhile to control your thinking and responses.

After all, that’s what emotional intelligence is all about!

Making Mistakes

Some of us are more judgmental about others whereas the perfectionist will be equally judgmental about himself as well as others. As a result, sometimes we can be very hard on ourselves and people around us. Of course, we want to learn from our mistakes and ensure that we don’t repeat them.

Everyone has their own way of handling their responses, but I would like to highlight one important distinction while looking at mistakes in general.

Two Types of Mistakes

I tend to think there are two basic kinds of mistakes human beings make.


One is a genuine mistake that most of us have made. Whether we were caught up with distractions or our thinking ability was compromised for one reason or another, a genuine mistake can happen from time to time.

Not So Much

The other kind of undesirable action is when a person makes a conscious choice or takes a well-orchestrated action and then coins it as a mistake to get away with it. And trust me that can happen, whether you are in workplace or any other aspect of your life.

People may have their own reasons for taking such actions, but then is it really okay to coin it as a mistake?

Discerning Leadership

I believe that it is very important for a leader looking at someone’s actions to distinguish between which kind of mistake are they dealing with. I personally don’t delve much over the honest and genuine mistake whether it is me who is making it or someone else.

Of course, if there is any lesson to be learned from the situation, we shouldn’t let that opportunity go. On the other hand, I do make a mental note of conscious action taken by someone disguised as a mistake. People making these kinds of mistakes need to be held accountable in my opinion.

Getting to the root of why a conscious unwarranted action was taken helps.

Be Wise, Analyze

So if you have judgmental tendencies and happen to look at yourself or anyone else’s action, please do analyze the situation carefully so as to not to jump to conclusions.

Give it a thought and please ensure that you are not being harsh on yourself or someone else for a genuine mistake. Of course you don’t want be making genuine mistakes all the time; but every once in a while, it is likely to happen and it is not such a big deal.

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Aditi Chopra
Aditi Chopra is an experienced leader in the software industry
She is a consultant, writer and a leader
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