“Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight.” Proverbs 18:17

By John E. Schrock, Businessman

Underline the key concepts found in this principle.

One of the finest leadership qualities is to be able to make right judgments. Right judgments are not attained and then maintained; instead they are a God-given insight into each situation or person on a daily basis. Leadership is really leading people through situations, keeping them focused on the desired end results. This takes good judgment; otherwise, situations will turn into disasters. Good leaders should always be concerned about their personal judgments or discernment - for their reputation and future are at stake. Good judgment usually comes from people who:

1. Are honest with themselves and have no hidden agendas.

2. Are more concerned about what is right than who is right.

3. Are not too proud to ask for other opinions.

In order to make right judgments, we must first judge ourselves (Matthew 7:2), because we tend to judge others according to our own perceptions. We usually see in others what we see in ourselves. If we have greed, hatred, or strife within us, we will think others to be the same. We will judge them accordingly, because out of the heart, the mouth speaks (Matthew 12:34).

Righteous judgments can be made only when we can see into the heart of the problem or person without our personal interests and feelings involved. That is not always easy because within every situation there are personalities involved. Most of the problems are people problems involving emotions, hot tempers and some smooth talkers. Everyone is trying to sell their side of the story. And of course, no one wants to take the blame. So, good judgment comes from sorting out all the trash by listening to both sides of the problem until we sense the truth in a situation. Any story sounds good until we hear the other side - once we feel we understand the situation, we must make a judgment on what to do. In most cases, it is wise not to blame just one person, but the team, because it takes a team to win. When we put all the blame on one person, it divides the team. A good line to use is, "I know that Joe was primarily at fault, but it could have been avoided if everyone would have been more careful." Then forgive and set the rules for the future. Dwelling on and blaming people for past mistakes stunts our present growth, because we are being held captive to the past, taking away our future. Good judgment is often learned from mistakes that set the pace for the future. Problems are usually covered by a smoke screen, and if we don’t listen carefully, we will make wrong judgments and blame the wrong people.

We must also be able to make right judgments in our world of high-pressure sales. Controlling the thoughts of a person in order to get him to see only one side of a story until he "signs the contract" is considered salesmanship by worldly standards. But this is manipulation. We can be sold down the river unless we have some insight and right judgment about people, especially sales people. Right judgment is a value that is needed every hour of every day. So, seek insight by listening and thinking it over, then judge from a pure heart. If we do not buy or sell or make decisions when we are under pressure, we will become known as wise leaders. One of our favorite lines should be, "I want to think it over." This will give us favor with God and people, and a reputation of "a leader with right judgments."

This principle is part of the one year character development program: Foundations For Achievement.

Thoughts to Ponder:
Good judgment is perhaps the most equally divided but surely the most under-developed talent in the world..