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Could Unconscious Biases Be Weakening Your Leadership?

Wednesday, July 20, 2022 - Joe Kiedinger

Cognitive biases are errors in thinking that influence our decisions and judgments in life. Some examples you’ve likely heard of are herd mentality, placebo effect and bystander effect.

These biases are unavoidable, simply because we’re human. However, that doesn’t mean we’re powerless against them. So, let’s get to work and reduce their hold.

Where to start?

First, if you haven’t already, check out my last WOW on the top 5 cognitive biases I see during leadership trainings and their effects.

Then, get to work on:

  1. Awareness — Simply being aware that you have unconscious biases is the first step. Once we’re aware that we have them, we’re able to change. So, let’s commit to some self-education. I’ve included some helpful resources below.

  2. Pause and Respond — As we teach in our Intrapersonal Communication trainings, we need to pause and respond to the situations that happen in our lives rather than simply reacting in the moment. Conquering this hurdle shows high emotional intelligence. 

  3. Intentionality — Now that we’re aware of our biases and have taken the time to think things through, we can function more intentionally. We can decide logically what information to ignore and what to dig into. We can identify when we’re leaning into a bias and choose to lean away.

  4. Feedback — Find someone you trust and ask for their candid feedback on any biases in your decision making they’ve noticed over the years. Though this can be the toughest pill to swallow, it may also be the most valuable.

  5. Reflect — Think back to some major decisions you’ve made recently. What was your thought process? Did you trust the first bit of information you received? Did you change your mind to fit the opinion of the crowd? Did you choose the easiest option rather than the best option that may have been more work?

Cognitive biases can be a tough thing to uncover because they’re unconscious, but getting a handle on yours can increase your ability to be a decisive, emotionally intelligent leader.

JOE KIEDINGER

ACTION PLAN: Want to get after your biases and boost your EI? Reach out to learn more about our:

  • Intrapersonal Communication training
  • Intro to Emotional Intelligence training
  • Leadership Coaching

Sources and recommended reading:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/hecparis/2019/10/08/new-evidence-reveals-training-can-reduce-cognitive-bias–and-improve-decision-making/

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/351497

https://www.amazon.com/Blindspot-Hidden-Biases-Good-People/dp/0345528433/ref=asc_df_0345528433/

Sometimes, all it takes is a little inspiration.

Understanding where others are coming from is critical in communicating and working toward a common cause.