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Are You Aware of Your Own Biases?

We are all biased in some way; it is human nature! What is key is recognizing your biases and correcting them before they damage your relationships with others and your ability to be effective in your role.

Consider if you are conscious of some common biases experienced by many:

  • Stereotyping. Stereotyping is unverified and oversimplified generalizations about a particular group of people. Have you judged others and their capabilities based on stereotypes you have rather than thinking about them as individuals? If you have done so, you may be passing up employees who would do an outstanding job on an assignment simply because you believe they are not capable or do not want to do the work.
  • Prejudices: Prejudice is an inflexible judgment of an individual or group of individuals based on limited and insufficient knowledge of their culture and values. Stereotyping feeds into prejudices. Every individual has a perception of what is “right” or “correct.” Do you, however, believe that your way is always the right or correct way? Do you ask employees to complete work exactly as you want it done without any room for them to get to the end result as they see fit?
  • Discrimination: Discrimination is a behavior that results from our prejudices. It is the unequal treatment of individuals based on a number of factors. Let’s assume we have someone on our team who has a heavy accent, we may choose to assign that individual to tasks that are less interactive with others or that do not require stakeholder communications because we make the assumption that he is not capable of being understood or is not smart enough to communicate with our stakeholders. Do you find that you treat some employees differently than others? This also becomes favoritism.
  • Favoritism. Do you have favorites on your team – individuals who you feel closest to or favor because they are from your ethnic background or because they seem to be just like you? When we play favorites with our staff we provide some staff with benefits others do not receive and set up dividing lines among staff.

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