Tell it to the Judge (Part 1 of 2)

Lately the subject of “judging” has been recurring in my life and thoughts, and therefore also in my blogs. Since there are so many ways to look at judges and judgement, my view is that discussion of this subject will always be worthwhile.

Three weeks ago, we looked at being “judicious” versus being “judgemental” in the blog Judgement, Not Judgement. A couple of weeks prior, I related the wonderful experience of serving as a judge in the Family Enterprise Case Competition, in Vermont, a Global Hub? What the FECC?

There will also be an upcoming blog about a court case, featuring a real judge. I actually went and sat in the courtroom at a murder trial for a day, a few months ago. It was a case of patricide that made national headlines, and I am looking forward to sharing that experience with readers.

This week’s post is about who gets to judge, and in what context. Pope Francis, before getting involved in the US Presidential campaign, was becoming known for saying the phrase “Who am I to judge?” when asked about various people in various circumstances.

Some people were not happy with this seeming abdication of the “responsibility” to pass judgement on what is right and what is wrong, but I think that he may be on to something.

So if even someone as high up the totem pole as the Pope is able to withhold judgement, who does get to judge?

As is so often the case, it is all about the context. One of my favourite mantras is “Give me context”. This is where our friends the economists would substitute, “It depends”.

So let’s leave behind the warm and fuzzy “listen without judgement”, “who am I to judge”, and “stop being so judgemental” and move to what is ultimately THE context that I take closest to heart, that of a business family.

In Parenting and Family Business Leadership, we looked at how people play the dual roles of business leader and parent. Today I want to extend that concept to how these separate roles are judged as being fulfilled successfully or not.

The easier place to begin is with the business. It seems pretty simple to judge the performance of a business, because there are a multitude of quantitative factors that everyone and anyone can easily see.

Is the business profitable, is it growing, are its customers satisfied? How many people does it employ, how many locations does it have, how many countries do they do business in. The list is literally endless.

So it is relatively easy to judge a business, but does that mean it is just as easy to judge the business leader? I think not. Now it can get trickier, because when you want to look at the personal leadership qualities of the person leading the business, the things that people consider become much more qualitative in nature.

Let’s jump over to the family side before we run out of racetrack. The dual roles of business leader and parent are difficult to balance, most people will agree with that.

But how do we judge the role of the parent? As a parent, when I observe other parents dealing with their children, it is sometimes hard NOT to judge them, at least internally, and compare how they handle a situation with how we would have done so.

Ultimately, the best judges of anyone’s parenting abilities are their children.

That is the biggest, deepest thought that has struck me recently, and I haven’t seen it, read it, or heard it anywhere.

If, and it is a big “if”, parenting is something that you wish to do well, the only true judges that matter in your evaluation are your own children. Their judgement is the only one that can ever matter.

Of course this now gets us into so many other questions, especially around the timing and methods of getting their evaluation and judgement of us, their parents.

We will pick this up again next week. Meanwhile, hug your kids and try to stay on their good side.