A Culture Of Feedback And Your Unconscious Bias

November 7, 2019 Pamela Fuller

 

Creating a culture of feedback is a crucial best practice for first-level leaders.

Giving and seeking honest and meaningful feedback provides you with insight into your blind spots and opens the lines of communication with your team.

When it comes to our biases, it’s important to get feedback on how we are perceived and how our actions and decisions might be impacting others. In your role as a first-level leader, it can be very challenging for your team members to give you feedback on biases that might be impacting your decision and behaviors. This feedback can also be challenging to hear—your instinct might be to get defensive, accuse them of being too sensitive or dismiss your team’s perceptions based on your good intent.

So how do we get around these instincts?

Consider giving your team an opportunity to provide feedback through anonymous surveys or assessments. Something as simple as SurveyMonkey or as complex as a full 360° assessment can open an avenue for your team to give open and clear feedback without the worry of retribution or some other backlash.

The survey could ask simple questions like: Do they perceive you to behave fairly? Do they perceive you to have bias? Is there anything that you can work on as it relates to building an inclusive work environment? If they had a challenge, how likely would they be to seek out your counsel?

There is one big caveat to asking for feedback—you have to be willing to take action on what you receive.

I heard someone once say, “an open door is not a policy, it’s just a door.” Creating a culture of feedback requires intentional effort – the effort of asking, creating safe avenues for response and internalizing what you hear in order to become a more responsive and empathic leader to your team.


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. 

About the Author

Pamela Fuller

Pamela Fuller's work has always been tied to issues of inclusion with an emphasis on exploring the impacts of bias and pushing just a bit, to make progress. For more than 15 years, Pamela has worked in both the public and private sector supporting clients and solving complex problems. She currently serves as FranklinCovey's Thought Leader, Inclusion and Bias as well as a Global Client Partner responsible for supporting some of the organization’s most strategic accounts.

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