When it comes to bias, one thing is sure it’s hardwired into us, and sometimes, as women, this means we are biased against ourselves, believing the stereotypes we hear. Agreed, it is not intended, and thus, the unconscious bias we are formed in childhood, deepened in education, are often consolidated via a mish-mash of all our experiences.
Unconscious bias often surfaces when we’re multitasking or when we’re stressed, as research shows. It comes up in tense situations where we don’t have time to think, and when we try to make snap decisions quickly, it’s an automatic part of our evolutionary fight or flight response.
However, I believe we can unsee what we have seen by becoming aware of our biases. The request is not to pretend to eliminate biases but to interrupt them to behave in ways aligned with our values.
Here is a great exercise I do with my clients during my workshops.
Think of a favourable situation with one person in any diverse or ‘out-group. This could be personal or professional.
Find a partner with someone you don’t know very well. For example, one is the listener, and one is the storyteller.
- Share your story with your partner.
- A, the listener doesn’t interrupt; just listens. What are you hearing? What worked? Why? Make notes on what you are noticing
- B is the feedback partner. What did you hear? Listen to the feedback. Don’t interrupt; just listen.
- A & B change roles
Now think of an unfavourable situation with one person in any diverse or ‘out-group. This could be personal or professional.
Rinse and Repeat :-))