Understanding Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is complex but it can be broken down into digestible pieces. Here are 5 quick ways to understanding unconscious bias


Understanding unconscious bias is easier than it appears. It’s about breaking situations down into digestible and accessible parts. There are 150 biases or even more and they come into play in every human encounter and interaction. They can’t be eliminated only managed.

In a poll carried out by Dorothy Dalton on LinkedIn 46% of recruiters have not had unconscious bias awareness training. It’s important that we all learn our own basic triggers and the simple steps we can make to improve our interactions and manage the bias that may be embedded.


5 quick ways to understanding unconscious bias.


1. Understand what they are

Unconscious bias is a modern-day hashtag for categorizing information on people, situations and things without realizing it, in a way that allows us to make decisions quickly.  They served our ancestors well, but in today’s knowledge economies can be limiting.

2. Recognize they exist

Don’t deny that they exist or you are not biased. We all are. There is nothing wrong with that. Be mindful of what you say and your behaviour. If you find yourself reacting strongly to something, do a self-awareness check and try and understand the cause. What makes you feel as you do?  Our backgrounds and experience influence the way we act and react today. You can also take the Harvard Implicit Bias Test

3. Apply nuanced thinking

Get out of binary thinking and into “also/and,” nuanced thinking. See something like a diamond with multiple facets, and not as a coin with two sides. This means understanding that stereotypes exist. Not all women want children, some men are emotional and some French people like fast food.

4. Challenge assumptions and traditions

Ask “why not?” rather than “why?” Just because you have always done something in a certain way, doesn’t mean that it makes sense continuing to do it. Ask for feedback and input and take time to learn from any situation.

5. Practise empathy

Walk-in someone else’s shoes. See things from another perspective. Seek to understand, not to judge.




If your organisation needs support with unconscious bias training get in touch with us today


Staff Writer: Career Contributor
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