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Topics: Communications Management, Leadership
As a leader, how can we recognise and avoid unconscious bias?

We make decisions, delegate tasks based on our experience and background. Some are good choices but most (??) are purely biased without even noticing. Reconsigning the unconscious bias is critical in making strategic decisions (the right direction with the right people). How to identify areas of our unconscious bias and avoid them or at least limit the chance of happening?
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Jiulin -

Self-awareness, soliciting feedback from others and self-assessments can make us aware of these biases. Involving a diverse group of stakeholders in decision making and using methods such as Delphi can help to overcome these biases.


Emotional intelligence is about self management and self awareness, but also social awareness/management. There is no masterclass in EI; we have to get their on our own, and in our own time.

Unconscious bias does not exists because to take decisions (as other things) you use your conscience. That is something people do not know. Believe me, I am studding this based on its relation to quantum physic where I am working with physic and mathematicians like Roger Penrose and institutions like Royal Institution. For example, is a critical field for quantum computing where I am making some research too. One thing some people confuse is intuition with unconscious.

During the decision making process I try to step back and take a birds-eye view on the whole situation. Typically asking two questions to myself:
1. "What would XY do in this situation?" XY might be a person I look up to, like some of my former managers or it might even my internal "rival".
2. "Does this decision benefit the project/company"
This approach works for me - as it forces me to evaluate my decisions.

I jot down a short business justification before I make most decisions where subjectivity might play a part; this helps me avoid making emotionally-based decisions instead of objective ones. I then have the option to circulate my rationales to others for their input. These justifications are also good to have if I'm ever called upon to defend one of my decisions or actions.

It's important to be aware of common unconscious biases and deliberately think through your decisions to see if you

Unconscious bias is only unconscious if we stay unconscious about it. We have to become intentional about understanding the potential for bias and how to counter it. For example, ask yourself "Would have the same reaction to someone who was "XYZ" - (different gender, different race, older, younger, more like me.) Try looking at resumes without looking at the name, for example.

Another way though to accomplish this is to get different opinions from different people. They may come to it from a different point of view. We should include a diverse group of people in decision making or at least in sharing their opinion to help us get different points of views and perspectives.

Thank you all for the valuable inputs. It involves a lot of observation, evaluation, team working and sometimes going against the habit or routine to make better decisions. And also based on your inputs, more importantly, staying truly humble would be very helpful to achieve make relatively unbiased decisions.

Some fantastic responses to this thread already.

I would like to add: We need to be aware of what types of biases we fall to. This is not a one-day activity and goes hand-in-hand with self-learning and self-realisation.

This list from Wikipedia is fantastic reference material to anchor such analyses on:

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