Everyone is biased, that’s just reality. Some of these biases are conscious—you know you have them. Examples of this would be that you believe extroverts make better salespeople, or that you believe quiet people are shy. That may or may not be true, but you know you believe it.
Many of our biases are unconscious—they exist in our minds and we’re not even aware they’re there. Unconscious biases often reveal themselves as simple likes and dislikes. People tend to prefer characteristics similar to their own, or those that society favors. People also tend to avoid characteristics that are different from their own experiences.
For instance, you might feel most comfortable on a team with others who share your interests and views, but is that really the best possible team? Or is it just the team you are most comfortable with?
Simply being aware of unconscious bias matters because those biases are constantly influencing how we see ourselves, how we see each other, and how we interact with the world around us. When we examine our likes and dislikes, we can become aware of unconscious biases. When we are aware of our biases, we can choose to act on them, or act on more accurate information.
The next time you delegate a task, assemble a team, or hire a new employee, reflect on your initial judgments about the people; are these judgments possible biases you hold, or are they facts?
Wouldn’t you rather be the one calling the shots for your team and organization instead of an unconscious bias?
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.