Unconscious bias


Mindset Mastery: Overcoming Unconscious Bias

Skill #11 of 101: The ability to recognise your unconscious bias towards someone and set it aside

What is unconscious bias? Simply put, it’s “Judgments and behaviours toward others that we’re not aware of.” (Harvard Business Review)

So what?

We display unconscious bias when we favour or discriminate against people because of these influences without even realising it. In fact, unconscious bias can have a big impact on people-related decisions and will have certainly affected all of us negatively at some point in time in terms of the judgements other people have made about us.

Key message – It’s not wrong. We’re not broken!

Every human being has bias of one kind or another. Our experiences shape who we are, and our race, ethnicity, gender, height, weight, sexual orientation, place of birth, and other factors impact the lens with which we view the world.

Are you biased? Of course. Virtually every one of us is biased toward something, somebody, or some group.

What’s the opportunity here?

Tackling unconscious bias levels the playing field. It creates a truly diverse society where preconceptions and judgements are less likely to limit our collective potential. With a more open mind, we’ll reduce our blind spots and embrace opportunities we otherwise might have missed.

How do we recognise it in the moment and set it aside?

💜 Step 1 – Be honest with yourself. Next time you’re in public, spend some time people-watching and notice whether you’re drawn towards or away from certain types of people based on age, gender, race, etc. Notice whether you make assumptions about them based on their weight, their tattoos, their accent… Become aware of the patterns.

💜 Step 2 – Connect the dots. What elements of your upbringing or past experiences might have led you to have an unconscious bias towards or away from certain characteristics?

💜 Step 3 – Challenge yourself. If you’re one-on-one with a person you don’t instinctively warm to, be consciously aware of, and set aside your preconceptions and actively look for evidence to prove yourself wrong.