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Monday, August 10, 2020

Executive Education

Addressing Unconscious Bias, Lead by Example

Unconscious bias is natural, we all have it. Our brains process a multitude of data throughout the day. Our brains are used as a filtration system to allow us to make decisions. These decisions are often made based on past experiences and existing belief patterns.

That’s where one needs to check in on themselves by asking…

  • Are those decisions made rationally, or on the fly?
  • Are those decisions based on logical fair information, or have our past experiences clouded my judgement?

In a workplace, making the wrong decision which is based on an unconscious bias can be detrimental to your organisational culture and your leadership brand.

If you want to change your culture and ensure people check in on their prejudices, biases and blockers to enable them to be the best that they can be at work, then taking action to reflect on one’s unconscious bias is the key.

I have written in the past about the positional power that leaders naturally possess. Put simply, positional power is the use of your power (of authority) to get things done. This type of power is something you exert over others. It is the use of your authority. Positional power is a preordained source of power given to a person as a result of their position, which is why it is imperative that leaders reflect regularly on their decision making.

In any change situation, you can reflect objectively by utilising these steps:

  • Determine your desired culture
  • Review what you already have in place
  • Assess the gaps (how will you get to your desired culture)
  • Engineer policies, processes and projects to address the gaps
  • Act on the changes you are making
  • Progress the changes to ensure the change is sustainable and not a one-off tick in the box process (we’ve all seen those!)

If you would like further assistance with addressing unconscious bias in your workplace, you are welcome to download my Free Guide to Address Unconscious Bias and Racism at Work.

Those who lead by example are the best leaders!


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Prina Shah
Prina Shah is a leadership and culture specialist and founder of Prina Shah Consulting. Prina supports CEOs, Leaders and HR Teams develop themselves and their company cultures. Prina has 18+ years’ in-house management experience in Culture Change, Organisational / Leadership Development, Human Resources and Change Management for companies within the not for profit, government, utilities, small business and private sectors around the world. Prina provides practical tools that you can put into practice to develop yourself and your company culture. Prina Shah is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine.