“Be curious, not judgemental” Part III


In the last two blogs I have discussed my awareness around how my judging of people was hampering my success when problem-solving and reaching solutions to the many challenges of practice management.

The problem with the judgements we make about people is that we are forming an opinion without all of the information. If we were to ever give the other person a chance to explain their side, we would learn, in most instances, that there are sound reasons behind their behaviour.

See these following examples of judgement that I have observed over the years:


“Why are you always questioning everything? Why can’t you just do what I ask?”

“I want to do things right, but it takes explaining things to me carefully in order for me to understand exactly what you expect of me. One of the worst feelings I can have is to let someone down. It makes me feel foolish.”


“You never do anything for anyone else. Why do you only do things that affect you?”

“I have been brought up to be responsible for my own life and situations, and never to butt into other people’s business. If I want someone to do something for me I take responsibility over that and ask them. I am happy to do things for others. They simply need to ask.”


“You don’t encourage patients to refer their friends to our practice, no matter how much we train you in it. It’s like you are not a real team-player.”

“One of the reasons I love dental nursing is because it allows me to avoid being ‘centre stage’. I am an introvert and feel extremely awkward and shy when speaking to patients one-on-one for too long. Being expected to speak to patients in this way makes me want to quit my job.”


“You slack off all the time. While others are always looking for things to do, you look for chances to rest.”

“I was born with an auto-immune disease. I was in a wheelchair for many of my primary school years. I now live a very normal life, however I do get very tired if I’m not careful. I rest when I can so I can complete the work day. I wish I didn’t get tired, but I have accepted it.”


“You always leave right on 5pm, and never offer to help the rest of the team at the end of the day.”

“I start to panic from mid-afternoon that I won’t be out on time. I need to be on the 5:15pm train to get to the child care centre by 6:00pm to pick up my daughter. If I’m not there on time they penalise me $30 for every 5 minutes I am late.”

Author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People Stephen R. Covey relates this story about judgement:


“You are a lousy father. Look at how you are letting your young children horse around on this train carriage, disturbing the other passengers. And you are just sitting there, doing nothing about it.”

“I am so sorry. You are quite right. I was letting them run off some of their energy. They’ve had to be quiet and behaved all day. We’re just coming home from their mother’s funeral.”

JPPS co-founder Charles Kovess has ‘interviewed’ many taxi drivers over the years. He poses this question to them: “How many of your passengers behave badly?” The answer is always “less than five percent.”

Most people are well-intentioned.  So when faced with the temptation to judge, adopt Walt Whitman’s wisdom and “Be curious, not judgemental”.

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