Basic survival when you are young is about trusting familiar and not trusting unfamiliar. A baby trusts that its mother will care for them and a stranger will make them cry as they do understand or trust what they will bring. The brain sorts familiar and unfamiliar and then starts to create memories that get locked down into biases.
We rarely perceive things objectively as our unconscious bias will step in and fill any blanks. We often think we can make a decision visually alone as we have enough knowledge from previous experiences to know that it is right.
We need to be conscious of our bias, otherwise we will limit our choices in life and we will limit potential in others.
The data we have on what’s familiar can be limiting and thus give us too many shortcuts as to what is good or bad.
There are different types of unconscious bias to be aware of:-
- Like me
The like me bias is when we have an affinity with another so therefore they will be OK in the role or job, because they are like me.
Confirmation bias is when you have heard something in your past that therefore confirms that bias. An example “Left handed people are more creative…”
Anchor bias is when you make a decision based on the first information you see. This can be very damaging in recruitment, candidates can be decided based on their salary as this might be the first information you see.
Being aware of bias and slowing down are all good ways to ensure that your unconscious bias does not lead you.
Try making one small change on a regular basis, ask another person to lead a meeting, seek advice from new people alter your preferences to which newspaper you read or to which programmes you watch.
When you next open your email, have fresh eyes on the subjects and the sender, do not let your unconscious bias lead which one you open first.
Please do get in touch for a workshop on unconscious bias firstname.lastname@example.org