Expand Your Network

 

Seek diversity in your professional network.

Meeting different types of people can help you weaken stereotypes that lead to bias. Yet, this isn’t necessarily as easy as it sounds. Professional networks tend to segregate, and several groups are underrepresented in management roles. For example, one sales executive, who is also a foreign-born female, told us that she couldn’t find anyone else with a similar background and job title when searching a popular professional network.

No matter how you define yourself, you can diversify simply by trying to engage with someone different from you. To do so, you could:

Engage with your organization’s diversity initiative, if there is one.

Attend meetups or conferences that tend to be more diverse.

Seek a mentor who is different than you are — remember that diversity goes beyond things like race, gender, nationality, and sexual orientation. For example, you might seek mentorship from a quiet, introverted sales manager you met at a conference, and maybe she teaches you that you don’t have to be a brash extrovert to be a great sales leader and motivator.

Also, consider becoming a mentor yourself. This can be especially powerful if you’re part of an underrepresented group in your field and you and your mentee are comfortable discussing your own tactics for dealing with the challenges you’ve faced.

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Unconscious biases are hard to identify, much less know their true impact. Before you can take steps to operate more fairly and effectively at work, you need to get your bearings. Download our latest guide: Seven Misconceptions About Unconscious Bias. 

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