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Why You Should Conquer Judgment & Become a Change Leader

Conquer Judgment & Become a Change Leader

Change is hard, disruptive, and expensive. But in the end, you are either the disruptor or the disrupted. 

Change leaders are the disruptors. They‘re curious. They choose to assess rather than judge. And they’re able to pivot when they sense a changing tide. 

Here is how conquering judgment and becoming a change leader can help you navigate your organization through transformation. 

Conquering Judgmental Mindsets

CEOs deal with judgmental people all the time. Conflict itself isn’t bad. It’s how you handle or mediate it that will build or undermine your team’s unity and culture. Let’s explore some concepts that can steer conversations away from judgment and into productivity.

Treat People With Respect

Begin by suspending all judgment about individual motives. Start seeing people as smart, capable, and motivated—then treat them accordingly. If you treat people with dignity and respect, they'll often reciprocate because these are fairly universal values.

Focus on Shared Purpose

When you co-create solutions with another person, there’s a natural buy-in and sense of individual ownership. Ask yourself what you want to accomplish together that you cannot accomplish alone. Focus on mutual interests and build a future together for better results than anything you could have created on your own.

Create Meaningful Dialogue

Have a two-way conversation with open sharing of insights and perspectives. Remember, you don’t always have to be right. Ask questions and approach the conversation with respectful curiosity. These types of healthy conversations build trust and provide essential clarity for everyone.

Becoming a Change Leader

A CEO who’s a change leader can inspire and motivate employees even in the face of rapid change and uncertainty. They stay resilient and flexible in a dynamic landscape. Let’s take a look at a few change leader habits that you can easily adapt into your leadership style.

Check Your Ego

When Vistage speaker André Van Hall suddenly went blind, many people reached out to help including his family, friends, co-workers, and Board of Directors. He pushed back with the belief that accepting help would be seen as signs of weakness and of his limitations. 


Get comfortable with challenging the status quo, whatever that might entail. If you want your employees to accept change and be open to new ideas, lead by example. Check your ego and encourage the rest of your executives to do the same.

Assess, Don’t Judge

When new ideas bubble up to the surface, many times we judge them based on our current beliefs, prejudices, and preconceived ideas. This is looking backward. When you assess, you force yourself to look at the potential of something. This is looking forward.


Be aware that there’s an inherent risk in assessing only the first layer of an idea and dismissing it as a bad one. Change leaders assess the potential of several iterations of an idea, situation, or scenario before making a conclusion about it.

Expect Curiosity & Initiative

Talk to team members. Ask them questions and practice deeper listening. Do this with fellow Vistage members, vendors, present clients, and—yes—past clients. Read business journals. Be a role model for proactive learning and professional development.


Expect employees to be proactive and take the initiative to help drive business forward. Someone who takes initiative but makes the wrong decision is a stronger employee than one who’s unwilling to stick their neck out. 

Don’t Take Yourself So Seriously

Vulnerability goes hand-in-hand with humility. When you demonstrate these qualities, people around you will open up.

Conquering Judgment & Becoming a Change Leader

Now you know why you need to conquer judgment and become a change leader so your team will be ready when it’s time to pivot.


When you exemplify non-judgmental behaviors and adapt change leader habits, you’ll be able to conduct healthy conversations that nurture a culture of curiosity. 


Improving the overall health and vitality of your organization will help you better communicate your vision for the future and your strategy to get there.

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Vistage Research Center publishes actionable, data-driven insights and expert perspectives from our global community of CEOs and thought leaders. Led by Joe Galvin, Chief Research Officer