You have unconscious biases. Does that mean you’re a bad person? No. Actually, it means you are a person—every human on this planet has unconscious biases.
But how do you identify biases if they’re unconscious and have a negative impact? Let’s take a step back for a second.
“Cognitive shortcuts can lead to problematic thinking… It might determine as a leader how I identify potential or how I identify talent.”
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The word “bias” simply means “preference,” whether it is for or against something. Biases are a normal human function; they are the brain’s way of handling the overload of information we experience every day—11 million bits of information per second, actually.
Brains can only actively process 40 pieces of information at a time at a maximum. The other 10,999,960 info bits are automatically processed using cognitive shortcuts.
Over time, these shortcuts train our brain how to think about more abstract concepts. We move from the survival mode of knowing that fire is hot to making assumptions about how to identify potential or talent in others.
The question is this: Can we identify our preferences that are limiting to ourselves or others? If so, we can choose a response that doesn’t have a negative impact. Analyzing our unconscious biases is an exercise in continuous improvement.
In this episode of the Leadercast Podcast, we chat with Pamela Fuller, thought leader on inclusion and bias at FranklinCovey, about how leaders can recognize and reframe their unconscious biases. Listen to the conversation above, or through your preferred podcast source listed at the bottom of this page.
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Connect with Pamela on LinkedIn and preorder her book, “The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias: How to Reframe Bias, Cultivate Connection, and Create High-Performing Teams,” releasing Nov. 10, 2020.