People like to think they are unbiased, especially leaders. And why not? Bias connotes prejudice, discrimination, and antagonism—none of which look good on a job application or dating profile, and definitely, have no place in leadership.
Nobody wants to think they are biased. Everyone wants to believe that their decisions are based on irrefutable facts, but it’s not so easy to draw the line between subjective and objective when you are in the middle of it.
What can you do about it?
Confronting an issue that exists in the subconscious can seem like an impossible task, but it’s not. The first step to confronting unconscious bias is to admit to yourself that you can be harboring these biases. When you remove the barrier of denial, you can effectively examine your own judgments. Are your likes and dislikes based on objective fact or your own subjective experience?
At FranklinCovey, we are especially focused on confronting bias in the workplace because bias, in all its forms, wreaks havoc on engagement. Just imagine being passed over for a promotion because of bias. How engaged will you be going forward? Just imagine being marginalized based on your education. How engaged will you be?
If you want to build a culture of inclusion, one with high engagement, and one that reaps the rewards of true diversity, you’ve got to seek out bias and address it. If you can’t spot bias in your workplace, maybe someone you work with can. Ask them if they have seen bias or experienced bias.
Sharpen your habit of examining your own decisions, judgments, and conclusions, through practice. Making a conscious effort to improve is the first step toward confronting bias.