Most of us believe that we are unbiased and ethical. Right? But research says that we all are biased in one way or other. We tend to pass biased comments without even realizing. One of the prominent biases at workplace is unconscious bias.
What is unconscious bias?
Bias refers to inclination for or against a person or a group. Unconscious bias is when our instincts, background, experiences and stereotype nature comes into picture and affects our decision making and actions. Here, biased comment doesn’t come from a place of bad intent, it’s just deeply stated, unconscious stereotype that has been formed in our brains through years of influence. That is, it’s kind of hardwired in our brains.
Such type of bias affects the workplace and workforce in a negative manner by influencing our perception and decision making. For example we tend to favor person we know, person who speaks the same language, right? Even gender bias, by the term “engineer” our mind associates a male. With the term “decorator” or “house maker”, our brain associates a female. Doesn’t it? It’s not your fault. That’s how we have been taught, where we have been brought, what we see, what we hear. Our brains tend to judge and categorize like that only. Till now, you must be convinced that this needs to be changed. How?
Be a bystander
You must be thinking it’s a difficult task as this is not something we are doing consciously. But you are wrong. Wiping it out needs a little change and effort. Here are some ways of action:
- Be Prepared: Change your language, listen positively, set goals to reduce unconscious bias
- Be visible: Join or form a group if possible. Find a way to make your presence at your workplace.
- Bring it up: Share articles and stories. Educate your friends and colleagues.
- Point it out: Point the bias when you observe such a scenario. You can either divert the conversation and then revisit privately or can point it out in the group depending on the situation. Share why it matters to you. Ask the speaker to see from a different perspective.
Let’s bring the change by committing to these actions and make our workplaces a healthy and diverse environment.
Source: Google Bias busting @ Work
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