Common Unconscious Bias Examples and How to Avoid Them
An unconscious bias is based on assumptions and opinions rather on facts or evidence. In other words, it involves judging something or someone according to hearsay or someone else’s opinions or beliefs. Unconscious biases are often wrong especially when it involves a group of people. Everything and everyone should be assessed on their own individual merits and actions.
It takes action and commitment to mindfulness to make a real change to better yourself and those around you. Get the facts before you assume that anything is hurtful and harmful to your community. The first step is identifying the common biases and actively shifting your perspective and actions to avoid them. There is no unconscious bias that benefits society; it only stalls and destroys it.
Here are four common examples of unconscious bias and how you can avoid them.
The Halo Effect
A very common bias found in the workplace, the halo effect, assumes that due to a physical or other unrelated quality you possess translates into a good performance or overall skills and qualities.
A classic example is someone going to work in a suit versus jeans and a t-shirt. Due to the halo effect, most people will conclude that the worker in the suit is more competent than the latter. However, their clothing obviously has nothing to do with how smart they are or how well they can perform their job.
To avoid the halo effect, make sure the qualities you are using to assess someone correlates. In other words, someone that graduated at the top of their class is a far better detail to determine their ability to perform a job than the clothing they pick. You already know it, “never judge a book by its cover.”
The Confirmation Bias
This is when you search for facts simply to support your idea while ignoring the obvious opposing facts. This is often done when discussing politics, religion or science, and anything that involves another’s belief. Facts are facts.
Don’t ignore them just because you can’t own up to your mistakes. You are human, and humans make mistakes. That is how you grow and learn to become a better and more successful person. Take the time to educate yourself and always challenge your thoughts if you feel resistant. Avoiding facts provides no value to your life.
The Age Bias
This is the running myth that your age plays a factor in your performance. It’s the assumption that due to your age, you may not understand certain concepts or be able to perform as well as someone who was younger and healthier or older with more experience. As you are well aware, your age hardly plays a factor in your interests. Just because someone was born in the technological or is glued to their smartphone does not mean they will perform better than someone older.
The Gender Bias
By far one of the most detrimental biases to females in the workforce. This is the idea that women are “bossy” or “mean” when they exude confidence or manage their team assertively, just as a man would.
It’s the idea that women are meant for the kitchen and men should be the “breadwinners.” This is easy to avoid. There is no reason to judge anyone’s performance or create rules solely based on their gender or other body parts that have nothing to do with you or the job.
Remember, the key to a successful community and happier life for you to include equity, diversity, and inclusion. Unconscious biases are the exact opposite and will always harm people whether you see them or not. If you want the world to improve and to live in a prosperous community, be the example. Get actively involved with your community, be more open-minded, and always avoid making assumptions.