Money & Business

Unconscious Bias: Check Yourself

By / Jan 12, 2020 (Ivan Bajic/Getty Images)

These four tactics can help you get a read on your own unconscious bias. These four tactics can help you get a read on your own unconscious bias.

Recognize “spikey moments.” Leadership consultant Michael Brainard says a spikey moment is “a decision that will have a great impact or a long life.” At these moments, slow down, get off autopilot, and challenge your gut and assumptions.

Get the full view. A quick way to check for unconscious bias is to look around. “If the room is looking just like you, bring additional chairs in the room, and bring in people who don’t look like you and people who have different cultural experiences and diverse backgrounds,” says leadership consultant Pamela J. Green. “That’s an easy way to get started.”

Listen for silencing. Keep an ear out for people who attempt to silence or dismiss different voices—and counteract that behavior in the moment. “If a person is diverse and speaks up with a good idea, but no one is making a comment, you need to speak up and say, ‘That is very valid. Tell us more,’” Green says.

Look at the data. Diving into the cold, hard numbers can help you see the manifestation of an unconscious bias problem, says Cie Armstead, director of diversity and inclusion at the American College of Healthcare Executives. “Use the data as much as possible,” she says. “If you have high attrition rates in your membership among the people of color, that is probably an organizational issue. You need to figure out why.”

Rasheeda Childress

Rasheeda Childress is an associate editor at Associations Now. She covers money and business. Email her with story ideas or news tips. More »

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