“The extrovert bias in business” discussed the many different forms of bias, including the extrovert bias existing in many businesses. Most bias that happens in the workplace is unconscious, that’s to say it isn’t deliberate. Unconscious bias happens because it’s they way we’ve learnt to think and react.
Why reduce bias at work?
Reducing the extrovert bias at work (and most others forms of bias) can help a firm produce:
- better decision making. Rapid decision making can often take in less views and is less resilient in the longer term.
- better employee engagement. Introverts make up a third to a half of most teams. If they’re feeling ignored, they’ll be less engaged. Then there’s other types of bias affecting others in the team.
- higher productivity. Better productivity normally needs engaged employees who are motivated and giving you ideas too. People who feel their input isn’t wanted are not as productive.
- better recruitment. Better decisions about people mean less staff turnover, better employees and less cost.
- better promotion. Promoting the best people for the job, rather than promoting in your own image can improve the company.
- a more sustainable company. Better long term decisions mean better long term results.
8 tips to help tackle unconscious bias
- Accept we all have unconscious biases. These biases have developed over time and are natural, they can help make quick decisions when needed, but quick isn’t always right. Being aware of your biases will help you spot them.
- Slow down. Acting on the spur of the moment, or always making fast decisions mean you’ll rely more on your bias. Slowing down will help you realise. Be wary of gut reaction, unless you really need to make fast decisions.
- Question your first response. Ask yourself if your first impression was just that. Was it a reaction, or the result of fast thinking?
- Give people more time. Run your meetings differently, so everybody has a chance to consider and contribute. Then listen and consider the new views, rather than unconsciously accepting them as “different to yours and thus wrong”.
- Get others to run your meetings. Getting different team members to run the meetings will change the styles and expose everybody to wider thinking.
- Stronger facilitation in meetings. Don’t let dominant voices dominate meetings and allow everybody a chance to give their opinion. Read running effective meetings which engage your whole team.
- Involve others in recruitment and “people decisions”. In some firms peers are involved in recruitment decisions, offering thoughts. That doesn’t mean you can’t make the final decision.
- Apologise if you get it wrong: It will happen, we’re all human. The aim is to reduce the unconscious bias which has been “looking after you” for many years. We can only deal with bias if we’re honest and admit our mistakes.