Let’s explore your unconscious biases.

Who would you want in a Human resource position?
What is your unconscious bias?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who would you want leading your company?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who would you want taking care of you your sick child?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And most importantly, why?

At YouMeWe Group one of our cornerstone values is inclusivity. Organizations all over the world pride themselves in being “equal opportunity employers,” and yet those that hire, have unconscious biases. Our biases can get in the way of us consciously contributing.

 

We all have biases. We are born with them. Babies that are black are attracted to babies that are black; babies that are white are drawn to other babies that are white. This is called the affinity bias, which is the tendency to favour people who are like you in some way.

 

Although we all have biases, what we need to be aware of is how we consciously minimize the way we treat others based on those biases.

by Suzanne F. Stevens, Conscious-Contribution™ Cultivator, Certified Speaking Professional (CSP), YouMeWe.ca

What influences our biases?

Our biases are influenced by life experiences, things other people tell us, media portrayals, institutional influences amongst others. There is an overwhelming amount of information that comes to us at once. Brain researchers estimate the human mind takes in 11 million pieces of data per second through our senses. Our brains, however, can only consciously process 40 bits of information per second. Which means there is a lot of information left to our unconscious to filter through. And this is where our biases start sifting through and come to conclusions.

 

Does filtering information with our biases make us bad people? No. However, being aware of some of our preferences will help us be more inclusive and increase employee engagement, customer loyalty, collaboration opportunities and accelerate innovation for your organization or small business.

 

What are Unconscious biases?

 

Unconscious bias is a quick and often inaccurate judgement based on limited facts and our own life experiences. These judgements can give individuals and groups both unearned advantage and unearned disadvantage in life and the workplace.

 

People can be biased about anything – not just things like gender, skin colour, or age, but also things like communication styles. I particularly enjoy (ok being a little sarcastic) when someone says “you are this style” – suggesting we are only one type of communication style and yet we are a combination of styles. What we value can often expose a different style when a value is being compromised. For example, someone who is much more passive can become more direct when they are being discriminated against.

People can be biased about anything - not just things like gender, skin colour, or age, but also things like communication styles. #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement Click To Tweet

One communication technique to stop demonstrating bias

 

One communication technique you can stop doing now is edit “you are ___” fill in the blank, out of your vocabulary. The word someone finishes that sentence with is often a bias being projected on to you. If you are providing positive feedback, try “I appreciate ____ about you” instead. Visit the last weWednesday for more on appreciation.

One communication technique you can stop doing now is edit “you are ___” fill in the blank, out of your vocabulary. The word someone finishes that sentence with is often a bias being projected on to you. #MyContributionCounts… Click To Tweet

What people do for work, as a hobby, where they travel – all can produce unconscious biases. Unconscious bias is just that – unconscious, however, those experiences fill the lens in which we view the world.

 

We also have conscious biases. For example, when someone says… “You wouldn’t believe what he did today… who do you think of?” You may very well know that you have a bias, and here is the thing… awareness of your preference is the first step to changing that point of view and remaining objective.

 

Why do we care about our unconscious biases?

 

Well as a leader, small business owner, or a fellow human being, we will start categorizing people and make all sorts of assumptions about who they are, their talents, motivations, and potential. This perspective limits our opportunities to optimize our interactions, and taps into our mutual potential.

 

When we understand how biases influence our behaviour, we can take action and create an inclusive culture—one where everyone can innovate, advocate, and collaborate.

 

Let’s go back to the questions asked at the beginning.

What did you see when you looked at each slide?

What do you evaluate first? Second? Third?

What was the message in your head?

 

Where they successful or unsuccessful?

Where they attractive or unattractive?

Where they capable or incapable?

 

Over the course of the next week, start becoming aware of some of your biases and consider how that bias is impacting your and other’s progression.

Start becoming aware of some of your biases and consider how that bias is impacting your and other’s progression. #MyContributionCounts #YouMeWeMovement Click To Tweet

Next week (and over the next few weeks) we will share some strategies on how to bring your unconscious bias to your conscious so instead of saying “you are ___” you will find yourself in the position of wanting to learn “who are you?”

Until next time, make your contributions count.
#YouMeWeMovement #MyContributionCounts

 

BEFORE YOU GO… like & share this post with your friends, colleagues, and anyone who wants to live their most meaningful life. Together, WE can spread the YouMeWe mindset of consistent conscious-contributions™ to the community. Collaboratively we can create a positive ripple effect. 


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Suzanne F. Stevens - make your contribution count

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    2 replies to "Unconscious biases, we all have them – and that’s understandable"

    • Susan Kawa

      I appreciate how you have tackled this issue of biases. My personal cringe factor is when people use language that is not person -first when describing someone’s attributes or a challenge. People-first language is particular to the community of people with disabilities but is also just a preferred way to speak/write.
      I look forward to this series of conscious contributions.

      • YouMeWe

        Thanks Susan! Thanks for sharing your “cringe factor.” That has always been an area that never sat right with me. I have learnt a lot from people like you who have different experiences – i.e people with disabilities. Number 3 video in the unconscious bias series addresses this issue. I look forward to your thoughts.

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