We’re all biased. That’s what makes the world go round. The danger comes when you let bias cloud your judgement. When you let bias negatively impact your leadership style.
I’ve always been the diplomat type. Libra’s tend to have a balanced approach. I want to be loved, and want everyone to get along.
Though in my yute, (if I can borrow a word from Vinny Gambini) there were times when I was stubborn, opinionated, and overly biased. Especially with my parents.
Then I had my own kids. Payback’s a bitch!
I remember speaking with my boss John about my little ones. I was a proud 35 year old Dad who rambled on about his kids like they were Gods gift. Angels. “When they’re 15 or so, you’re going to wish it was five years into the future” John said. I tilted my head to one side, puzzled and curious, like my American Bulldog Mack use to do. “What do you mean?” I replied. “Because you’re going to wish that part of your life was over!” John zinged back. Man, he knew what he was talking about.
A biased parent dealing with biased children. Can you relate?
At times in my life I’ve stumbled, perhaps reacted too quickly due to bias, and occasionally, metaphorically speaking, ended up with bloody knees and a broken bone or two to show for my myopic views and inexperience. The upside? I’ve grown in the process. I’m a much better professional, and more importantly human being, than I was in my ute.
How can you get better at managing bias? For starters, be aware of yourself and others. This is called Emotional Intelligence. If you want to know more, give me a call and we’ll have you take a quick assessment.
Another idea is to challenge the process. This is one of the five practices of exemplary leaders in The Leadership Challenge. Great leaders look outside of their environment for innovative ways to improve. This includes getting ideas from the team, partners, customers, and competitors to name a few.
Corral your biases and expand your learning. Do these two things and you’ll become a leader, followers will want to follow.
Today’s guest post is courtesy of my assessment partner, TTI. Bill is the founder and CEO. His brother Dr. Ron heads R&D.
Brain Research Proves Biases Affect Decision-Making, Success
Everyone has biases. There are certain things everyone prefers or despises. Biases can be good or bad. We can either let them help us or they can hinder our success. Our research using EEG brain scans show biases form a powerful basis for our beliefs and actions.
Indeed, work we have done in the Center for Applied Cognitive Research has shown we are most powerfully driven by that which we strongly dislike.
In work and life settings, these brain biases can be a filter for what we’re thinking and what we hear from others. They can keep us from seeing another angle, when a different viewpoint is what the situation calls for.
Recognizing and Using Our Biases
The key to decision making and success is to recognize your biases so you can realize if you’re listening to your biases too much or if you’re able to make decisions without them getting in the way.
Being aware of your biases will give you a check and balance system for your entire decision making. You should decide which of your biases are helpful and if there are blind spots the biases are producing.
In a group situation, you can explain your biases and ask for feedback. Next time you are in a group, try saying something such as, “I feel very passionate about this project, so I would like to hear from all of you if I’m seeing everything correctly and if I’m looking at all of the facts necessary to make this decision.”
You should see many of the people around you will open up and give you other viewpoints that could add depth and meaning to the project. The key to making a group decision is to put all of the biases on the table so everyone knows each other’s thoughts and preferences and you are able to make a well-informed decision. All viewpoints are necessary to be successful.