The definition of unconscious bias is unsupported judgements.
We have the conscious mind where we apply logic and make rational decisions. The unconscious mind has a vaster volume of information and we tend to use it to make snap decisions, which are not often right.
The information in the unconscious mind is made up of shortcuts, personal experiences, our own background and cultural background. We create filters with this information and they often formulate from visual cues.
The cues can be gender, height, similarity or even their name. I once met some-one who said they had never met a Bev they had liked before (an outspoken open bias). More often as the bias is unconscious nothing will be said and you may not even be aware that you are making a judgement.
This instinctive use of our mind is not based on any analysis and therefore creates many categories of bias. We often favour our own groups, this is known as affinity bias. We have an affinity with a team member and we may support them with positive micro behaviours. Praise after a meeting and the occasional coffee as you enjoy their company. If we don’t have an affinity we may use negative micro behaviours, picking up on every detail within an email and not supporting them within meetings.
We cannot stop unconscious bias however we can become aware of it and begin to challenge it and address it.
- Slow decision making down
- Reconsider the reasons of your first initial reaction or response
- Question any cultural stereotypes
- Monitor each other and call it out, if you think there is a bias
We can address unconscious bias by greater self awareness. Please do get in touch for a workshop on the topic email@example.com