Saint Joseph's University

Joining, Not Judging

Students enrolled in SJU’s Master’s in Organizational Development and Leadership (MODL) program recently had the opportunity to hear from some senior consultants with the Kaleel Jamison Consulting Group as they discussed the importance of inclusivity. While many students today could easily dash off a paper on the importance of diversity and inclusiveness, these speakers offered a more organic approach to the topic, providing attendees with lessons for life and business – specifically on the importance of “joining, not judging”.

All too often, they said, we are encouraged both as students and as working professionals to “judge” – make assumptions, create groups, and take actions. Unfortunately, in social and business relationships the unintentional outcome of this is to quickly size-up situations and form cliques, which in fact, unfairly exclude others. This can torpedo efforts to create a group that truly comes together in a blended fashion to achieve a goal.

What Is Judging?

Judging can quickly turn personal: We are deciding the fate of concepts, ideas or even a person. Two of the presenters offered several examples of judging too quickly, and the effect it has on the overall progress towards a goal (as well as the health and longevity of a group). Often in new situations (or when someone new is brought into an organization), rapid fire judging can occur as everyone jockeys for their station in the new formation. How much more success might be achieved if working groups simply embraced the newest addition to the team and realized it made the group more inclusive. Joining (as opposed to judging) is the way to go!

What Is Joining?

Joining is a much more powerful method of navigating through our personal and professional lives. There are several ways people and working groups can benefit by choosing to join rather than to judge. These include:

  • By leaning into joining, new, uncomfortable situations or choices, it can help everyone learn and advance.
  • Joining compels people to be better listeners.
  • By joining, it can help a person better appreciate the perspectives of others.
  • Joining can introduce someone to a new way to approach a challenge and, with practice, it can become a new normal in your life.

The Value of Joining

When we judge, we not only put the other individual in a box, we place ourselves in a box. Through the process of joining, we embrace someone new. Good old-fashioned listening and empathy provides us with a platform from which everyone will have more success in achieving their goals.

When we seek to learn, listen, and invite, then we truly create powerful teams and partnerships in which ideas can soar. The presenters clearly outlined how judging can limit our own potential in the classroom, the interview field, and in the work environment. So assess yourself: Are you a joiner or a judger?

Learn more about other organizational development and leadership tools, tips and thoughts that students will be exposed to on the pathway to earning an online MODL.

About the Author

Elizabeth Upham

Elizabeth Upham is a graduate student completing the MODL program at Saint Joseph’s. She is employed as a Patient Satisfaction manager at a medical center in Morris County, New Jersey.

She is a certified Volunteer Administrator, a published newspaper and magazine writer, and speaks nationally on topics pertaining to volunteer management and the patient experience.

Grad Year: 2017
Program: MS in Organizational Development and Leadership

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