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Powerful Personal Leadership Quality

It's good that I'm writing this leadership quality article. Or is it 'good'. That could be a value judgment, and far be it from me to judge!

Being accepting and non-judgmental is the leadership trait that I'm writing about, so let's not tip those scales just yet.

Deepak Chopra talks about non-judgment as being a foundation stone of living an empowering life. He talks about an open accepting attitude promoting this personal leadership quality and 'self-actualization'... the becoming of all that we are capable of being.

Here is a very memorable and somewhat amusing story about judging, how judging can hold you back, and how non-judgment opens doors...
for much greater things... unexpected and wonderful things.

I was a young single woman, and on a rare visit to see my actor brother whom I greatly admired and respected. We had a couple of days together. Just enough time for me to see his show (it was great, of course:) and do a bit of socializing with him. One night was a birthday party for two people in different stage productions. The casts of both shows got together to celebrate at a Greek restaurant.

It was the late 70's, the culminating years of 'hippidom'. I had hair down to my bottom, wore long flowing skirts with little bells on them, and had just come out of 2 years living in a religious commune. You might think that I had instilled a leadership quality or two... keep reading!?! I didn't drink more than about a glass of wine a month. This party was a different environment than what I'd become accustomed to.

I was happy to take a seat near the end of the tables, and mostly just sit back and watch the night unfold. I felt a bit unattached, a bit like an outside observer.

As you might be able to imagine, people in theater are pretty good at celebrating. Near the end of the night, like a final party trick, there was a very drunk fellow that got up with a huge stack of plates. You may know it's a tradition in some Greek restaurants to break plates. This drunk fellow certainly knew, and he was a sight... big man, big nose, bald, weaving, with this silly grin from ear to ear, and Australian... that might give you an idea of his loud outgoing manner. :)

With a stack of plates in one hand, and holding one in the other, he worked his way down the stack,.. crack,... crack,... crack... until he only had one left. There was a slight pause from him coupled with a look of mild bewilderment. Then an even more audacious grin revealed his flash of 'brilliance'. Up the plate went over his head, and crack down on top of his skull. A ribbon of blood trickled down the side of his head and face!

What was I thinking... what an idiot this guy was! This judgment may have fed my ego in some absurd way, but I wasn't conscious of enjoying anything about it. I obviously thought I was better than him in some regard, but there was nothing truly empowering in this attitude for either myself or him.

The next day my brother and I reviewed the party. He told me this fellow was one of his best friends. He was bald because he had cancer and had been undergoing chemotherapy. He knew he was among good friends who accepted him for who he was. And he knew he could let out some stress without being judged.

Well, he was 'mostly' among friends who would do that for him. I realized I had given this guy no benefit of the doubt at all. After hearing a bit about him, I dropped my judgment. I felt open and accepting of him, and some empathy. I'd turned my attitude to one of giving.

In that simple change of attitude I experienced the empowering impact of this leadership quality. Acceptance is empowering. It is rising above the details and offers support to all involved. It is giving the benefit of the doubt.

About 10 years later I moved to Toronto where my brother was living. I met this fellow. As he was in my brothers social circle we started to find ourselves at the same dinners and outings. We started spending more and more time together... and we found that we really quite liked one another. We really liked one another. In fact about a year and a half later he got down on bended knee and asked me to marry him!

Now I could vividly remember the night at the Greek restaurant, and what was my answer... 'I'd love to'!

What if I had not been willing to look past my judgments and entertain the attitude of this leadership quality? I would have missed one of the greatest gifts in my life.

Non-Judgement At The Foundation Of Empowerment

Would you agree that judging is the classification of things as good or bad? To judge requires:

  • knowledge of the existence of good and bad
  • a distinction in your mind between what makes something good or bad

The Biblical parable of Original Sin talks about the downfall of man from "eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil". One interpretation of this parable reads it to mean that:

  • the first err on the part of man, from which all other errors arise, is to label things as "good" and "evil"
  • judgment blinds us to reality, and can keep us from experiencing the fullness of life

A thought provoking interpretation of this leadership quality, at least.

What I do know for certain is that it doesn't further me to judge.

"Judgements prevent us from seeing the good
that lies beyond appearances."
Wayne Dyer

"If you judge people, you have no time to love them."
Mother Theresa

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