What is Judgment in Leadership?

Judgment is the thinking, considerations, and final discernment needed prior to making a decision. It is an analysis and value-based assessment. The more complex the issue, the more considerations and various perspectives are involved. Therefore, a leader needs to know how to consider all relevant factors to reach the best level of discernment about the issue at hand.

Leaders are tested every day and on an ongoing basis to make sound Judgments that guide their decisions. Leaders realize that most difficult Judgments take careful consideration. They are willing to invest the time, thought, discovery, and critical reflection to make a difficult Judgment. They know that good Judgments do not just happen, but require extensive preparation, thought, and reflection. Leaders are patient when making Judgments in uncomfortable and difficult situations that they face, but after due deliberation, they are able to act with clarity, knowing that they have made the best Judgment they could.

Over the course of our lives, each of us makes thousands of Judgment calls. Some are trivial, such as which cereal to buy; some are monumental, such as whom to marry. Our ability to make the right calls has an obvious impact on the quality of our lives. For leaders, the significance and consequences of Judgment calls are magnified exponentially, because they influence the lives and livelihood of others. In the end, it is a leader’s Judgment that determines an organization’s success or failure. On a personal level, it is the sum of a leader’s Judgment calls that will deliver the verdict of his or her career and life.