Unconscious bias

Updated: Oct 20, 2020

"If you hire only those people you understand, the company will never get people better than you are. Always remember that you often find outstanding people among those you don't particularly like." — Soichiro Honda, founder of Honda (Source: Honda R&D Americas)

There is one thing all leaders need to work on: unconscious bias. It affects our decisions about hiring, promotions, termination.

According to the Oxford Dictionary, Unconscious bias is “Any distortion of experience by an observer ... of which they are not themselves aware. This includes the processes of unintentional selectivity and transformation involved in perception, recall, representation, and interpretation”.

Everyone has a bias, but we need to be aware of them and make sure that our decisions are not driven by our bias, especially when we hire, promote, or interview.

Few tips to start:

  • Be self-aware. Test yourself, know your bias. There are some free online tests online. Speak to your family, asking for their opinion.

  • Find a good training. There are loads of online courses available, and it is worth to check if your employer has any training or educational materials about the topic. It will help you to identify what types of bias you have, to act promptly.

  • Reflect. Before you take any decision, spend some time to challenge yourself and ask a few questions about your decisions and what influenced it.

The earlier we will start to build our awareness the better for ourselves and for our peers.

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