This is a six-part series about the almost invisible behaviors that spark negative drama and attention. Select the tag, "Drama Sparks" to see them all.
Let me introduce the voice of Judgy McJudgerton. Read the questions below with a suspicious tone of voice and the facial expression of a judgy cat.
"Isn't the name Judgy McJudgerton a little facetious?"
"What, exactly, do you mean by that?"
"How does that, when considering our current trajectory, plus the new initiatives, help our overall commitment to excellence?"
"Don't you think you shouldn't compare people to cats?"
There is a common theme to these questions....they aren't really questions! They are actually a tool used by the Judgy McJudgerton to share an opinion.
For instance. At a recent meeting, I was helping a group discern their core values. Core values are a topic that a Judgy McJudgerton cares deeply about. A suggestion was made to shorten the list of values so they were more easy to memorize. The response from McJudgerton was,
"Is it a good idea to take shortcuts on our core values?"
The irony of their intention is they do this to promote their commitment to the values, but in reality, they end up sounding harsh and hurt loyalty from those who prize relationships. Trying to answer the question correctly is a trap. There is no adequate answer to these type of questions. They are designed for the answerer to fail.
The best way to approach questions like this is to answer the question with a question.
Instead of striving to answer a question you can never get right you might say; "I can tell this is important to you, What do you believe we should do?"
This will give them a chance to use their natural skills of evaluating and setting the course in a strong moral and values-driven direction.
If you ARE a Judgy McJudgeton remember that your values will be more respected if you honor the relationship and diversity of belief in the room. One of my favorite mantras for a Judgy McJudgerton, is, "I can give others space and still hold my convictions."
Next up in the series: The Half-Asser
These concepts are all part of Process Communication Model. Take a course to find out more about PCM.