5 Ways to Have Better Judgment at Work
Chrissy Scivicque | CAREEREALISM
While working at a bank many years ago, I approved a $10,000 fraudulent transaction. When the FBI showed me pictures of the man who had pulled a fast one on me, I didn’t even recognize him. In fact, the whole situation was kind of a blur. At some point, they pulled the footage from the branch security cameras and, as I flipped through photos of myself smiling and giving what appeared to be excellent customer service to a man on the FBI’s watch list, I could hardly believe my naivety.
Unbelievably, I wasn’t fired. Though it would have been completely justified. My boss really stepped up for me. Not normally the sympathetic type, I think he was just as blown away by the situation as I was.
Clearly, that wasn’t a shining moment in my career. In fact, I’d venture to say it was the biggest and most devastating mistake I’ve made at any point in my professional life. Thankfully, I don’t believe in failure. So I see this as a critically important lesson in judgment.
To help you avoid such painful lessons, I thought I’d share the top 5 things I learned from this experience.
1. Don’t Zone Out
The most inexcusable part about my “situation” (as we will now refer to it) was I didn’t even remember my thought process. I couldn’t justify my actions. Why? Because I was “in the zone.” Or rather, I was zoned out. I was doing my thing, the monotonous daily tasks I had come to take for granted. My brain was on auto-pilot. I ran hundreds of transactions a day. At some point, it only makes sense I’d stop paying close attention to each one.
Good judgment is an active process. Engage the brain. If you feel yourself falling into a mindless routine, shake it up. Start working with the opposite hand or move the items you use most frequently. Showing strong judgment doesn’t mean you won’t ever make mistakes, but when you do, you should have a clear understanding (and recollection) of what thought process led you to that conclusion.
2. Slow Down
The truth is, I was probably competing with the other tellers to see who could move through customers the fastest. Man, I hate admitting this. But that was a common occurrence. I was a manager so running a teller drawer wasn’t my favorite thing to do. I only jumped up to help out when the line was out of control. And my presence always forced the other tellers to pick up the pace. We made it a game as a way to relieve the tension. That backfired.
Never sacrifice quality for speed. It’s so tempting, especially when impatient customers are right in front of you. But breathe deep and take slow, methodical action. Good judgment requires time. Give yourself a minute to think about what you’re doing. Rushed decisions are never as defensible as those made with measured, deliberate consideration.