Most teams suffer from unconscious bias. In fact the more strongly you feel your team does not have this problem, the more likely it does.
Unconscious bias is an unrecognized perception or judgment about a group, individual, or process that when compared to another is unfair.
Why is unconscious bias bad for business?
- Hiring Practices – organizations may hire and promote less qualified team members due to unconscious bias
- Cliques within Teams – sub group biases such as dev vs QA or tech vs business can turn a successful team into a worthless one
- Confirmation Bias – if teams go into conversations with expected results they often look for ways to prove themselves right and exclude any contrary data
The good news is that there are a few things your team can do to address unconscious bias right now:
- Raise Awareness – Have conversations around confirmation bias first and then expand those discussions to include social issues. it is easier at first to look externally and critique other teams or organizations. Then the focus can be directed inwardly to begin expanding the consciousness of team members.
- Change the Way the Team Operates – Look for ways to shift current team practices and agreements to help raise issues of bias early and upfront. This keeps it from lurking in the shadows and in my opinion, “Sunlight is the BEST Disinfectant.”
- Develop an Inclusive Focus – Build new team events around bridging differences and educating one another. Have dev train the wider team on how to code, have designers lead workshops on User Experience best practices, etc.
Hopefully your team can conquer unconscious bias by bringing it out into the open where it has no place to hide!