I recently delivered a live web event on ‘”Understanding Your Unconscious Bias‘ with my coaching colleague and workshop delivery partner. I was able to be up front and centre on the subject. The reason that we ran the live event was because so many people have a view on the subject and, with society going through something of a difficult time with the debate around equality and diversity, the facts surrounding Unconscious (or Implicit) Bias are being distorted or weaponised to suit different narratives on both sides of the debate.
Consequently, it seems that many people avoid the subject as it has a stigma attached, which suggests that a person is somehow racist, bigoted or prejudiced by having an unconscious bias. NOT TRUE. I know the reality.
I want to provide you with the facts so that you, as at the reader can at least start your own journey in understanding your own biases.
What Is It?
Unconscious biases are the stories that we make up about people before we get to know them. They are unsupported judgements that are pro or against a person, group or thing. You go through your day with these thoughts which impact pretty much every thing that you do or say.
It is also known as implicit Bias and it is when people favour those who look the same as them or share the same values. This isn’t done consciously.
It takes 7 seconds for you to make up your mind about a person from the moment you first meet them, based on the stories you tell yourself about that person; be they, tall, short, slim, obese, male, female, blonde, ginger, black, muslim, tattooed or a Millwall fan, to name but a few.
In your brain there is an almond shaped structure called the Amygdala that is responsible for your emotions and behaviour – Fight or Flight, which keeps us, as a species alive. You will never change that trigger in you brain. It is not possible as it is there to protect you. This is just one example of the cognitive process.
It’s filtering millions of calculations every day, identifying ‘dangerous’ situations before your consciousness is aware.
Example – A guy is interviewing candidates for a role and there is a lady sat in front of him, answering a question about how she would deliver a two year project, for instance. The illustration heading this blog tells you what he unconscious mind is thinking!
That is unconscious bias at work as a social stereotype.
If I can’t stop it, what can I do?
Unlearn your bias. You have been taking in information from people by witnessing, hearing and feeling since your were about years old. These experiences drive your behaviour and steer your decision making.
Now that you have a general idea of what unconscious bias is, you have to catch yourself when you see yourself demonstrate it. You have to unlearn that behaviour.
Would you behave that way if the situation were expected rather than unexpected?
Would you have responded in that way to another guy/lady?
Unlearning demands self-reflection and humility. That’s it! We have to pull apart personal implicit biases, educate ourselves on why they could be discriminatory and then dismantle them.
The event we ran takes you through the subject in a little more depth, but only to get you started on your journey.
There is no definite correlation between unconscious bias and discrimination.
However, most people carry unconscious biases which could contribute to behaviour or comments likely to land a person in unfortunate but wholly preventable situations. Find out more about the subject for yourself and put yourself into a position to expand your opportunities.
What help do you need to move you forward with this or any other area of your career, job or life?
Contact today – https://Improvingperformancecalendar.as.me/ to book your complimentary discovery call.