There is a vast body of research worldwide arguing that unconscious biases underlie a great deal of our patterns of behaviour.
First impressions, for example, are so important because our brain is hardwired to assess a person within the first few seconds of meeting them. This is an evolutionary throwback to the days when you couldn’t be sure the person who approached you was a friend or foe. Your first impression was important, because it could mean the difference between life or death.
Today, we tend to use that initial information to make other types of judgements, like whether or not we would get on with that person. Because we try to get more information out of our first impressions rather that just do what our brains are hardwired to do (assess safety or danger), we end up making mistakes, and letting our bias take control of the situation.
It is human nature that we unconsciously look to promote people in our own image. In many occupations, personnel are sometimes given promotion or treated more favourably than their colleagues if they are attractive, or in the same sports team as their boss, or they are their boss’ drinking partner for example. But does being attractive, or being a good drinking partner mean that person is professionally more able than their colleagues? How long does it take to decide on a first impression? 7 seconds? 10 seconds? 30? A minute?
At Prospero we can help you explore your unconscious bias as part of our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion courses or, if you prefer, a bespoke course on just this subject alone. By being aware of your unconscious bias you will be a better recruiter, manager or supervisor, who better understands their staff and their capabilities. Simply contact us using the form below.