I had a conversation with someone recently that made me realize that I could put a little more emphasis on a segment of coaching. One thing that I work on with people when dealing with blind spots is uncovering and eliminating unconscious bias. Sometimes these particular blind spots run so deep that people don’t even realize what they are even after other people have pointed it out to them.
How many of you are aware when you’ve judged someone? How often do you make decisions based on the way someone looks, or a “gut feeling” that you think that you have? How many times have you said that you were trusting your “instinct” about someone? A lot of this is an unconscious bias that you have making the decision for you. These blind spots, this bias, develops in a lot of ways; for example, by your own personal experiences, your background and the cultures that that you’ve been exposed to, or conversely not been exposed to.
Research has shown that we, as humans, like to categorize people. Unfortunately, doing this can sometimes lead to negative consequences, especially when you are leading a team of people. Uncovering these types of decisions and facing why you’ve made them is important because they can be harmful not only to the person who you have judged but also to yourself. Are you not going for a promotion at work because you think they’ll never put a woman in that position? Do you look in the mirror and think that you’re too short to be strutting around in the C-Suite? That is a bias that is feeding into a limiting belief, holding you back from getting your dream job.
Studies have proven that diverse teams, people of varied backgrounds, of different ethnicities, genders, age groups, sexualities, education levels, etc. do better than homogeneous teams. Is your unconscious bias holding back your team? Is it holding back you? Take The Implicit Association Test and see if it points out any blind spots. Want to unpack them? Let me know.