Intel Ceo Brian Krzanich said in a conference of Grace Hopper Celebration of women in computing, “We all have unconscious gender bias”.
The important words here are ‘We all…” And this includes leaders of the organizations as well.
An EY paper on Unconscious Bias, ‘Outsmarting Our Brains, overcoming hidden biases to harness diversity’s true potential’ quotes DR Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard University professor of Social Ethics and co-author of Blind Spot : Hidden Biases of Good people, “Leaders with best intentions may be unconsciously stifling diversity in their organizations.”
Human beings by default will have biases. Some biases are explicit and hence it’s easy to overcome and win over them. The tough part is to be able to recognize the implicit biases or the hidden biases which in layperson’s language is known as Unconscious Bias.
Leaders too like any other human being would carry biases. The important fact is that how aware are they of their own biases and hence what actions would they take to overcome these biases.
What can Leaders do to identify their biases?
- Listen to their own voice and be mindful of their communication ( verbal and nonverbal)
- Impromptu feedback from friends, colleagues and their circle of influence
- Ask their coach/ mentor if they have one and discuss it in length
- Take Unconscious Bias/ Blind Spot Identification Test administered by Biz Divas
- Ask more meaningful questions to themselves when forming an opinion about something or someone
What should leaders do once they have identified their biases?
- Create a Behaviour mind map to address their biases
- Act differently and address the biases they carry
- Acknowledge and share their story of self-awareness
When world leader like Gandhi can admit to his follies and we can still celebrate him, I am sure we could extend same admiration and support to our current leaders
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