Leadership Nudge® 330 – Make Observations Not Evaluations

November 4, 2020by Sandy Wilmer6

Get better at making observations. Avoid statements that can be seen as blaming or shaming. Instead of “You never sent me the email” try “I missed the email.” Instead of “You’re not making sense” try “I’m having trouble understanding.”

Learn more by reading this blog post: The Power of Observation


Get better at making observations. For example, there’s a meeting and there was an email, apparently, that went out. You don’t remember seeing the email, you missed the meeting. It’s embarrassing. You go to the person who ran the meeting, you could say, “Yeah, you didn’t send me that email.” 

But that sounds like an evaluation or maybe even an accusation. And it might not actually be true. They might have sent you the email.  

“I didn’t receive the email.” Again, you don’t know that for sure.  

“I don’t remember seeing the email.” That is an observation.  State the world as you know it. 

Here’s another example. “That doesn’t make any sense.” Well, it doesn’t make any sense to you. Or maybe even better, “I don’t understand what you’re trying to get at,” because it might make sense to other people.  

Here’s a final example. Someone comes up to you with a plan to say here’s what I’d like to do. You could say, “I don’t like that plan.” Judgment and evaluation. Or, “That plan makes me nervous . . . queasy . . .  uncomfortable in the following way.” Now you’re stating an observation, from your perspective. 

Make observations, not evaluations. I’m David Marquet. That’s your Leadership Nudge.  

Sandy Wilmer

6 comments

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