Unpacking bias from your leadership tool bag.

14 11 2016

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought with, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.” ~Albert Einstein

Between all of the wars we’ve had, and all of the political turmoil we’re constantly experiencing, it’s not surprise to say that people tend to form groups, and then their groups disagree, sometimes violently, with the “others”.  Groups can be countries, political groups, sports nations, and even clique’s at work, school, and in social life.  These groups make it easy to de-humanize those that aren’t like “us”.

Leaders, do your best not to let your other group’s prejudices influence your leadership decisions.  You may be of one religion, and be asked to manage those of other religions (or no religion!).  You might be of a certain ethnicity, and not be able to gain insight into those of other ethnicities.  You may not even know that you’re showing preferential treatment when you’re doing it.  One good exercise I do, at the time of annual performance evaluations, is to sit down and think hard about those that I’m reviewing, and ranking them from “Best to worst”.  Then I put that paper away, and rank them, quantitatively, on the scorecards that we have agreed on.  When done, I compare the scorecards to my “gut check” qualitative rankings from the early exercise.  When these 2 lists don’t line up pretty closely, it’s usually because of some unrealized bias.  It’s quite an enlightening exercise, and hopefully over the years, it’s made me a better leader, with fewer biases.

Just another tool for your leadership tool box, if you choose to use it.  Speaking of weapons…


Rubes cartoons used with permission. www.rubescartoons.com




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