Become a better judge of people (and see yourself more clearly)

A few years ago, when I was looking to brush up on my skills in interviewing job candidates, I read a book called Good People: The Only Leadership Decision That Really Matters by Anthony Tjan.

The book’s suggestion is that we can change the way we think about goodness in order to become better judges of people and create more goodness in ourselves, in others, and in our organizations. But even outside of the workplace, you can learn to become a better judge of the people around you, and also to assess the extent to which you are meeting your own expectations in these areas.

Tjan suggests asking yourself specific questions about someone (or reflecting on your own qualities) that relate to core values that combine to form this sense of goodness: namely truth, compassion and wholeness. Here are the questions:

  1. Do you believe this person is self-aware? (truth)

  2. Does this person feel authentic or obsequious? (truth)

  3. What is the talk-to-listen ratio? (compassion)

  4. Is this person an energy giver or taker? (compassion and wholeness)

  5. Is this person likely to act or react to a task? (compassion)

  6. How does this person treat someone (s)he doesn’t know? (compassion)

  7. What is their spouse or partner like? (truth)

  8. Is there an element of struggle in the person’s history? How does (s)he respond to setbacks? (compassion)

  9. What has this person been reading? (wholeness)

  10. Would you ever want to go on a long car ride with this person? (truth and compassion)

  11. Is this person comfortable with idiosyncrasies? (wholeness)

  12. Is the person multidimensional or multidisciplinary? (wholeness)

What do you think? How would you answer these questions about yourself, or about the people around you? Do you have a favorite question from the list?  As a book lover, I’m always interested in what people are reading, so number 9 is high on my list, along with envisioning taking a long car ride with someone. But they all seem like great ways to dig deeper into someone’s personality.

Let me know if you try it, and what you learn!

– Jenna