What and How about Unconscious Biases
“It’s not at all hard to understand a person; it’s only hard to listen without a bias.” — Criss Jami
We make numerous decisions daily without even realizing it. Researchers call this as unconscious bias, which means having an opinion about something or someone without our consciousness. There are several unconscious biases that we hold based on which we perform our daily activities.
New research suggests that we may hold on to unconscious bias against creative ideas much like we do in cases of racism or phobias.
What is unconscious bias?
Unconscious biases are the stereotypes or beliefs that we unconsciously attach to others. We make judgments and form opinions about people based on these unconscious biases. The workplace is the most common area of life that is influenced by unconscious biases. One of the strongest biases we have is gender bias. Why? Well, our feelings and opinions about gender are something we’ve developed throughout our lives. However, it’s important to mention that most biases don’t have bad intent. It’s just a deep-seated, unconscious stereotype that is formed in our brains through different influences.
How unconscious biases affect us?
Unconscious biases affect our perception, attitude, behaviors, attention, and listening skills. Whether we are aware of it or not, each one of us is influenced by some or the other bias while interviewing people, while interacting with our peers, while forming opinions about others, etc.
“We are only blind as we want to be.” — Maya Angelou
How to avoid unconscious biases?
There are several ways to avoid unconscious biases. However, the most important and effective way is to be aware of these biases and consciously avoid those. If we follow the below points in our daily lives, everyone’s life would become fair:
1. We should look for culture add instead of culture fit.
2. We should judge a candidate from his/her skills rather than the resume.
3. Clarify your doubts by asking the right questions and let people share their full story.
4. Respect individual opinions.
5. We should never judge a person from his/her background, privileges, situations, etc.
6. Try to understand the root of other’s opinions about that person and better have your own experience.
7. Accept everyone as a unique individual.
8. Consider an individual as an employee rather than a man or woman.
9. We should train ourselves to debunk the myths about ageism. All age groups bring unique things to the table.
10. We should make a habit of looking into the inner beauty of every person.
If we follow these points and make those our habits, this world would be a better place to live in.
“Fortunately for serious minds, a bias recognized is a bias sterilized.” — Benjamin Haydon