For those who see people in black and white, in mutually exclusive attributes, saying something like “She’s a great person and she’s a horrible boss” just doesn’t work.
Horrible bosses are not great people. Period.
But when we turn that same judgmental eye inward, and closely examine ourselves, we can see clearly how we are all walking contradictions. We are all opposing “ands.”
You can be smart and still do stupid things.
You can be both empathetic and selfish.
And yes, you can be a great person and a horrible boss.
And yet when we judge others, we often use one point of reference – one experience or attribute – to holistically determine their whole character.
There is unfairness in that judgment: imagine if someone were watching a film reel of every second of your life and stopped randomly on one frame – a frame where you were being selfish, or uncaring, or angry – would you want that frame to define the totality of your character? Should it?
We use behavior as a shortcut to help us judge deeper character, and while that is sometimes an effective method of keeping us safe, it can also short change us and distance us from our own innate goodness.