Growing interest in Equality and Diversity in the UK at least has resulted in lots being written about Unconscious Bias.
For many business owners and even Human Resources professionals, an understanding of what Unconscious Bias actually is – and also what it isn’t is often slight rather than detailed.
In straightforward terms, Unconscious Bias relates to our personal experiences gained throughout our lives. Our past experiences in all walks of life from family, friendships, professional career experiences are stored in our brain at some level, whether we would prefer it or not. And a challenge can occur when the human brain makes an incredibly quick decision about the meaning of a situation, a comment or encounter. Yes, there are times when the human brain should indeed make an incredibly quick decision, such as jumping out of the way of an oncoming vehicle. Survival is the human brain’s top priority. There are also other times when a well thought out response is the best policy. But for this to happen, a period of reflection and perhaps even discussion is needed. Bear in mind though, we humans are emotional beings first and not logical beings!
A Bias is no more than a preference towards a particular way of thinking. And in this simple definition, all appears well. When transferred to a hectic lifestyle, perhaps stressful professional life, or even in your choice of friends, bias plays a role. And bias is not always a ‘bad thing’. For me, there are some people I love to be around (my bias and preference), just as there are others I would do just about anything to steer clear of. But my decisions in this example are very much conscious.
I am currently in the middle of designing a one day Unconscious Bias Masterclass for a client operating in the scientific arena. The Unconscious Bias Training Masterclass is likely to be offered publicly mid 2018.