Becoming self aware of your biases is a huge step to professional and robust thought development. By understanding your predispositions and how they affect your decisions, you can recognize any present bias in order to achieve a more well-rounded perspective.
Side note: Unconscious bias is a term that essentially refers to prejudice, and the term bias is used frequently for this concept. There are HR training programs available to help with eliminating unconscious bias. In this blog, we are referring to regular bias.
What is a bias?
A bias is a slant. Any internal or external attribute, element or association that makes you favor something before you are presented all of the facts, can be considered a bias. We are naturally prone to prefer the familiar. We like others that look like us, talk like us, and think like us. This isn’t inherently negative, but it prevents us from exploring the unknown and considering new standpoints.
How do you find bias?
If it were in your posture, you would look in a mirror. You can’t visualize your own body’s posture without first viewing it from an outside perspective. The same is true for determining bias that we hold in other ways. Conduct a 360 analysis as an exercise to get the full picture.
An inquisitive self-assessment or self-survey can assist you with uncovering any present biases, and you could employ the help of your colleagues for their input. Ask them questions that they can answer honestly, and they may bring to light something you haven’t considered.
What should you do with this information?
Break down this thought bubble and expose yourself to new ideas! Put yourself in situations that are new, or different. If you always listen to the same political radio, switch the station to the opposite party and note the difference in what you are hearing, and how the same stories are presented from different viewpoints. Because of our natural inclination to like those that are similar to us, you can even leverage your ability to understand others’ way of thinking and align yourself with their biases.
Lastly, bias in itself is not a concern. This is your set of preferences and likenesses that make you, you. It’s what you do with this information that is important, and whether you let it cloud your judgement and thinking.