Your Bias Won't Let You Be Great
Updated: Dec 9, 2020
I hope I am not the first person to ever break this bad news to you. Yes, you have bias. Yes, it is getting in the way of your greatness. You feel your love for the Chicago Cubs over the St. Louis Cardinals is just a simple family tradition. Do you know how many of those family traditions have shaped your mindset and decision making?
Our experiences give us ideas around what qualifies as weak or strong. It determines who we see as accomplished and how we define success. We all laugh about the crazy aunt or uncle that finds their way into every family. What we don't talk about is how our families decide to interact with them. What events they are invited to, who will offer help when they are in need and if you will say yes to recommending them for a job with your company.
We may not have paid much attention to this as a child, but we can clearly explain it as an adult. You know if you still play a part in making sure their Thanksgiving invite had a different start and end time. No matter if you view how you interact with them as wrong or right, the truth is the experience has shaped how you will deal with others. When we get to work we don't lose all of the bias we have gained over our lifetime. You have learned how to deal with conflict. Some will embrace it and others will run from it.
There is good news! The more we recognize our bias the better we can navigate relationships. Paying close attention to who you speak to first when you enter a room of strangers, who you pick to lead work projects, how you describe your top performers, all while making sure to pay close attention to your reasoning. Seeking feedback often will support your awareness of where bias may be taking over. It is so deep in our unconscious that it will be difficult to recognize. Over time as you push yourself to get uncomfortable and try to navigate spaces differently, it will become easier to notice.
Your greatness is beyond bias. Bias holds you back and keeps you trapped in a box of ideas that was created by experiences. Your family, education, social media... it all plays a part of shaping your thoughts. Write down what you value most and make that your foundation. Let everything else be fluid and flexible so that you can make decisions in the moment based on fact and truth.
Your greatness could be blocked by the bias lens you view life through. Today could be the moment you decide to own bias. The day you admit that gut instinct could also be translation for "it feels familiar, therefore I like it."