Identify Your Biases

Suspicious of the term “unconscious bias”? I sure was.

Here’s a short exercise that you might benefit from. I’m neither an expert of adult learning pedagogy nor a curriculum designer, so forgive me for its lack of efficacy.

Dedicate five minute and find a quiet space alone so you can speak your completely spontaneous answers out loud to yourself. I suggest being alone, so you’re not tempted to censor them for anyone else.

Let me walk you through a list, and say the first words that come to mind, which might even be a full sentence:

When you think of the following, what description immediately comes to mind?

  • People who sit at Walgreens or CVS and print out their own photographs
  • Catholic women in their seventies praying the rosary
  • Residents of Sedona, Arizona
  • Parents who live in well-rated pubic school districts but pay for their children to attend private school
  • Volvo station wagon owners
  • People who vape
  • Lesbians
  • Adult men who play rugby with local leagues
  • Saturday morning garage sales hunters who arrive when you’re still setting up at 7:00 a.m.
  • Puerto Ricans
  • People who tell you they vote for the “person” and not the “party”
  • Hassidic Jews
  • Presidents of homeowners associations
  • Women who wear men’s Rolexes
  • Protestors denouncing their government’s policy on required mask wearing
  • Sushi eaters
  • Black NBA players
  • Friends who openly discuss their past substance abuse and addictions
  • Chief financial officers

I could add dozens more, but I bet you’re convinced by now. To have biases is to be human. It’s okay. Bias isn’t always bad—it is, however, always present. Which is why becoming more aware of our biases and how they cloud our perceptions and decision as leaders can only help us mature.

I have solid opinions (biases) on every category I listed above, and as I become more aware of them and why I formed them, I am much more capable and willing to challenge them.

You capable and willing also?


Download our guide, Manage Your Biases to Better Manage Your Team, to learn some strategies for identifying your biases as a leader and what you can do to manage them.

About the Author

Scott Miller

Scott Miller is a 25-year associate of FranklinCovey and serves as Senior Advisor, Thought Leadership. Scott hosts the world’s largest and fastest-growing podcast/newsletter devoted to leadership development, On Leadership. Additionally, Scott is the author of the multi-week Amazon #1 New Release, Management Mess to Leadership Success: 30 Challenges to Become the Leader You Would Follow, and the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Everyone Deserves a Great Manager: The 6 Critical Practices for Leading a Team. Previously, Scott worked for the Disney Development Company and grew up in Central Florida. He lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, with his wife and three sons.

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