Overcome Unconscious Bias

Let’s (consciously) examine our own behaviour.

Our amygdala, the most ancient part of our brains, the part that manages fight or flight, floods stress hormones into our brain when put in unexpected situations. This happens when we meet people who are different. This is a natural barrier to understanding, comfort, and acceptance; one which we must CONSCIOUSLY work hard to overcome.

How do we do so? By noticing our own behaviour, and by making the unexpected, expected.

Three ways to practice this noticing and to overcome

  • Visualise upcoming situations (meetings, hiring interviews etc.)– and change the visualization.
  • Examine your own behaviour. How would you (re)act if the situation and participants were different?
  • Normalize difference. Put yourself in new situations and actively manage your stress hormones!

Make the unexpected, expected.

Here is a 5-min cut of a full TED Talk from the excellent Verna Myers on bias that details the requirements. Change in behaviour is about overcoming inertia. We must make new, conscious choices.

The more you read about DIBs (diversity, inclusion, belonging), the more you learn and study, the more you practice and the more you acknowledge…the easier it becomes to change the situation for you and for others. This, friends, is leadership in action.

This Much We Know.

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