Can you be a Learner rather than a Judger all the time?
No. Accept that. Free yourself by accepting Judger is a part of you…but practice Learner.
Every one of us has these two mindsets…the only issue being which one we choose at any given moment. At any time ask, ‘Am I in Judger? How else can I think about this? Where would I like to be?’
In ‘Change Your Questions, Change Your Life’, Marilee Adams has a Choice Map that shows the Judger path means automatic reactions, is blame-focused and features win-lose situations. The Learner path leads to thoughtful choices, is solution-focused and features win-win situations.
The switching lane is where you rescue questions or course-correct questions
Notice the questions are in first person---‘I, my’.
Is this what I want to feel?
Is this what I want to be doing?
What’s my choice right now?
What humor can I find in the situation?
What assumptions am I making? What are the facts?
False or incomplete information can get you in a lot of trouble. Assumptions may be invisible chains to the past that block freedom of choice and action for the future. To make an assumption is to presume something is true without verifying it. What am I assuming about myself, about others, based on past experiences, about available resources, limitations, circumstances?
Switch to observer
When you get into a challenging situation and have an impulse to act or express a feeling, step into observer mode. Remind yourself that, just as with a ringing phone, you do not have to ‘answer’ those impulses. You can watch. Then when you take action, you can be more thoughtful, strategic and mindful of potential consequences.
Work to develop ways to make intentional, conscious choices rather than being controlled by events around you. These are essential leadership qualities.
Think like a Learner
It’s dealing with what happens rather than making judgments about what has happened. A Judger can be self-righteous, arrogant and defensive.
Shaping your questions into Learner questions is a core self-management skill, a skill of civility, one you apply to yourself and in your relationships with others.
Adams writes “Share this material with others. Feel free to download some of the QuestionThinking tools. You can print out copies of these tools to share with friends, family and colleagues. Put them on your refrigerator door and let them stimulate conversation with family members. Put them up at work, or bring copies with you to a group or team meeting where QuestionThinking might be useful.” The tools include the Choice Map and The Top 12 Questions for Success at www.InquiryInstitute.com.