We're all biased. Here's how to not let bias rule you

We're all biased. Here's how to not let bias rule you | practice (split each time) | Make employee rewards personal and regular to resonate
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April 19, 2024
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We're all biased. Here's how to not let bias rule you
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If you're a human, you have biases because our experiences are reference points for how we make sense of the world, but being aware of them is the first step toward dispelling them, writes Chatsworth Consulting Group Principal Lisa Kohn, who also recommends slowing down, getting feedback and gathering other perspectives before making decisions. "A huge dose of compassion -- for yourself and others -- for how easily we're caught in our own biases is necessary, and helpful, to find a way out or through," Kohn notes.
Full Story: Chatsworth Consulting Group (4/18) 
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Put it into practice: Even thinking that we can be objective about our biases is a bias, Kohn warns, which means we need to be gentle with ourselves and others and not make snap decisions or judgments. "One of the best ways to combat our bias is to actively look for other interpretations, explanations, and points of view."
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SmartBrief on Leadership
Make employee rewards personal and regular to resonate
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Recognition from the boss can keep employees motivated, but it must be the kind of reward that resonates with the team member and given not just at the end of a project, but as encouragement during the process, writes management consultant Marc Cugnon. "In industries facing greater uncertainty, more regular feedback and reassurance can help keep stress or anxiety below the boiling point for junior employees," Cugnon notes.
Full Story: SmartBrief/Leadership (4/18) 
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Put it into practice: An "Employee of the Month" program could backfire if some workers will be honored many times while others won't, which can feel random to those who may never be recognized, Cugnon notes. Instead, make recognition routine and for other reasons than achieving top numbers or other goals that may be out of reach for some team members.
Read more from Marc Cugnon on SmartBrief on Leadership
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New leadership can make existing teams nervous, so if you're the new boss, take time to introduce yourself -- letting them know about your personal and professional life -- then go on a "listening tour," holding one-on-one meetings to get to know them and allay their fears, write Michael Lee Stallard and Katharine P. Stallard. "Leaders at high levels need to be particularly mindful of reaching out to not only their direct reports but also to those further down their chain of command to introduce themselves and begin establishing rapport," the Stallards write.
Full Story: Michael Lee Stallard blog (4/16) 
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Put it into practice: Reach out beyond your direct reports and get to know a wide range of employees to build a more robust and deeper rapport across departments, the Stallards recommend. "The leader who chooses to remain a bit of a mystery should recognize that it leaves them open to being misread and misunderstood."
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French city installs radar to encourage more running
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Officials in Nantes, France, have installed pedestrian speed radars in two local neighborhoods, intended to encourage walkers to pick up their pace to improve their physical fitness. The idea was inspired when planners noticed that joggers and teens often speed up when approaching a traffic radar to register their pace.
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About The Editor
Candace Chellew
Candace Chellew
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Our biases are so deeply engrained, we truly don't know how often we make decisions based upon them. From choosing where to go to dinner to who to hire, our biases are always at play. Lisa Kohn's advice is sound -- we must strive to always be aware of our biases and get in the habit of pausing to collect feedback or put ourselves in another person's shoes to get a fresh perspective before making quick decisions.

Her advice to have compassion for ourselves and others is key to ensuring that we're not being driven by our biases. We'll always have them, but slowing down and taking other views into account will help us make better decisions that take the well-being of others into account.

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