Bias...the silent chokehold on talent

Updated: Aug 27, 2020

Are you bias? The answer is yes. We all have our own biases. The question is do you recognize them and what mechanisms do you have in place to control them when they are detrimental to business. Does your inner circle feel comfortable telling you when you are being bias? 

Bias is analogous to addiction. I speak from experience, during my childhood my father was an alcoholic and a drug addict. We watched him struggle with addiction for years. It wasn’t until he recognized his addiction and was ready to commit that things changed for us all. Most addicts will profess they do not have a problem even when their very behavior is wreaking havoc on their family and friends. Addicts continue on with business as usual, until they experience first the impact of their actions. The very same way leaders’ actions can positively or negatively impact their organizations.

 Below are some steps toward “recovery” from bias:

  1. Do a moral inventory of yourself. Admit your biases.

  2. Think about the root of the bias. Talk about them with a trusted confidant. Ensure to choose someone who doesn’t have your same stance. They will only confirm you are “right or justified”.

  3. Work to gain perspective of the difference in the career experiences of a diverse candidate versus their white male counterparts.

  4. Be open minded to other’s truth.

  5. Make a list of all people who you think would be willing to have a discussion about the path forward.

  6. Continue to take personal inventory and when bias creeps in, promptly correct it.

Such a time is this for leaders to be great. Being great is admitting your weaknesses and committing to change.

Out of the mouth of babes... When our oldest daughter started school, I would ask her if the kids she wanted to play were black. One day, she apparently was fed up with this question, she answered me with "Why? Does it matter?". There I sat stunned...because it should not have mattered. Her father and I worked hard to move to a diverse neighborhood with a good school system. The goal was for our kids to have a rainbow collation of friends. And I was doing the very thing that I despise...judging people by the color of their skin and not the content of their character.

Let’s do better.

Will you commit to root out bias in your area of influence?


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