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Why Good Judgment Matters More than Anything Else

If you want to see what matters, look at how companies decide on who belongs. I’m talking about the exercise of good judgment in the hiring process.

I’ve often observed that hiring managers usually hire people for experience (or talent) but they fire for attitude. If they’re careful they document performance lapses, but usually these are really attitude problems that affect performance.

Three icons in a row display a smiley face captioned with personality, a figure with arms raised in celebration captioned with attitude, and a set of scales captioned with judgment

Which Would You Prefer in an Employee? (Choose One)

Good personality

Good attitude

Good judgment

I know plenty of employers would choose good personality or good attitude in sales or customer service roles. I won’t say they’re wrong. In customer-facing roles, these can be desirable. The problem I encounter is too many managers think they are a good judge of personality and they base it mostly on the hiring interview(s).

These same managers later discover that the employee’s personality “changes” after spending time on the job. Imagine that!

Let’s shift the question a little.

Which Would You Prefer in a Leader? (Choose One)

Good personality

Good attitude

Good judgment

I think the answer is different here. Most people would say “good judgment.” Why?

The stakes are much higher. A leader has to make decisions and set direction. Their judgment is key. If they are likeable, that’s a bonus. But tough leaders with good judgment (think Churchill or Lincoln) are the ones we turn to when times are tough.

Good Judgment is What Matters Most  

I’ve noticed that top companies (and managers) hire people for good judgment. They look at each hire as a potential future leader. They know that if a person has good judgment, they will do the right thing for the company and for the customer. And even when they make mistakes of judgment, they will learn from them.

If only we had a way to measure good judgment!

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For more on this, watch my video on Youtube “What is Good Judgment?

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