Learner or judger ?

Adapted from the Art of question  -     Marilee G. Adams, PhD




What is wrong ?                                  What works ?

Who’s to blame ?                                What am I responsible for ?

How can I be in control ?                    What are my choices ?

Why is the other person so                  What is the other person feeling, needing and wanting ?

frustrating ?




Judger                                               Learner


Judgmental of self/others                      Accepting of self/others

Reactive and automatic                        Responsive and thoughtful

Inflexible and rigid                               Flexible and adaptive

Either/or thinking                                 Both/ and thinking

Self-righteous                                      Inquisitive

Afraid of difference                              Values difference

Personal perspective only                    Considers perspective of others

Defends assumptions                           Questions assumptions

Possibilities seen as limited                   Possibilities seen as Unlimited

Protective                                            Curious  


We all have both mindsets, and we have the power to choose where we operate from in any moment



Judger                                               Learner

Win-lose relationships                         Win-win relationships

Separate                                             Connected

Fears differences                                 Values differences

Debates                                              Dialogues

Criticizes                                             Critiques

Listens for                                           Listens for :

            -right/ wrong                                       – facts

            -agree/disagree                                    – understanding

            -differences                                         – commonalities

Feedback perceived as rejection          Feedback perceived as worthwhile

Seeks to attack or defend                    Seeks to resolve and to create


We all react from both mindsets, and we have the power to choose how we relate in any moment.