Unconscious, or implicit, biases are the attitudes, preferences, and assumptions that any person holds toward another individual or group of people. These beliefs—centered around a wide range of characteristics, from race, ethnicity, and gender to religion, speaking accent, physical appearance, and physical abilities—are formed from birth, outside of a person’s awareness. However, they play a role in perceptions of and interactions with others.
Over the past few years, many conversations have been had around bias. Bias in the workplace, bias in the home, bias towards women, towards men – the topic has made its way to a number of conference room tables, kitchen tables, and dimly light bar booths. The positive outcome of this is that the topic is being discussed. The negative outcome is that for some, the conversation tends to end with an over aching tension in the air – as people feel uncomfortable and targeted.
Here as Hustle Crew HQ, we love getting down to the nitty-gritty – and so have compiled a list of tips on how to discuss bias – without the room turning sour.
Set the Right Tone.
If you are leading the conversation, setting the tone is one of the most important things you can do before discussing a topic that some find uncomfortable. This can be apparent for the workplace and at home. Unfortunately, for some people – discussing bias can lead to finger-pointing or rifts within the team. To avoid this, try and create an open safe space where you are having a discussion, not a debate or argument.
Allow yourself and your team to be learners.
As we get older, many of us fall into a fixed mindset where we don’t enjoy being challenged. The issue here is that we then stop learning. Allow yourself and your team to make mistakes initially, even expect them! No one is going to get it right the first time, but don’t let that deter you.
This is how we learn. This is how we grow. Even if the conversation starts to get uncomfortable, stick with it. We are constantly absorbing information even after the conversation has ended, so don’t back out if you start to feel the heat.