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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Employee Development: Who Should Take Responsibility?

Training Development

Having been on both sides of the manager-employee equation, I sometimes wonder who should take responsibility of an employee’s growth and development.

This because I am a firm believer of self-awareness and constant growth of an individual.

Finding the Way

The process of identifying a development area and then working on it is now ingrained in me and I consciously work on it. However, some aspects of an individual are harder to identify and work on, than others. Some habits if not identified and worked on in the nascent stage can become an annoying trait.

These annoying traits can come back to bite an individual in the most crucial times.

I believe that in addition to an employee taking responsibility for their growth, managers should also take the time to give timely and appropriate feedback.

On Strengths and Weaknesses

Of all of my personality traits I have worked on over the years, some were easily identifiable by me. However, there were a couple of weaknesses that if not pointed out by my manager, I would never have identified the root cause and possibly never worked on them.

From my experience, each and every aspect of an individual can be worked on by carefully identifying the root of the problem and then coming up with appropriate steps to correct it. Having an understanding mentor or coach is the key to this process especially for those problems that are harder to work on.

Sometimes a couple of different solutions may have to be tried before one can completely fix a problem but the key is to keep trying.

Performance Reviews

What I have often seen is that most managers (if not all) dread when the time comes to giving performance evaluations to their employees.

This begs the question why?

  • Evaluating an employee’s performance should not be such a fearful process.
  • After all aren’t managers are also supposed to be coaches for their direct reports?
  • Isn’t annual review the time for employee growth and development?
  • Shouldn’t performance evaluation be the time where managers can be proud of their coaching skills?

Well, there is only one explanation of why this happens. These managers don’t give direct feedback to the employees all-year-round and wait for the yearly performance evaluation cycle. Some companies conduct mid-year evaluations. Even if companies don’t mandate a mid-year performance evaluation, managers should make it a habit to give feedback to their employees throughout the course of the working year.

Be Wise, No Surprise

Another important aspect of the review process is that any feedback should not come as a surprise to the employee at the performance evaluation time. If the feedback is a surprise, it would certainly make the process difficult and dreadful.

Coaching employees is one of the most rewarding skills for a manager and they should make it work to everyone’s advantage.

I would urge all managers to not let any annoying habit fester in an employee. Help them identify the root cause and work with them to correct it. It is quite possible that they may not be fully aware of the issue and simply need an empathetic guidance.

So how are you doing at identifying your personal and professional needs for growth? And better yet, how well are you doing this same thing for the people that you lead? What can you start doing TODAY to provide the helpful feedback your people need to help them learn, grow, and develop better performance? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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Learn, Grow & Develop Other Leaders

Aditi Chopra
Aditi Chopra is an experienced leader in the software industry
She is a consultant, writer and a leader
Email | LinkedIn |  Web | Blog | Twitter | Books

Image Sources: incedogroup.com