Why unconscious bias training is essential for managers

Why unconscious bias training is essential for managers

As managers and decision-makers, we have significant influence over our teams. We don’t just hand-pick the perfect individuals for each role — we also act as the foundation upon which the entire workplace culture will be built, sometimes without realising it.

This responsibility is not to be taken lightly. That’s why it’s vital for leaders like us to train our minds and instincts in the art of unbiased decision making, both for ourselves and the productive teams we manage.

What is unconscious bias?

Unconscious bias is what happens when our brains make split-second decisions about other people without us realising it. These decisions can be influenced by many things, including culture, religion, gender or skin colour, and they are often the product of limited perspectives based on our individual backgrounds. This can impact hiring decisions, team member treatment and more. As Forbes explains, “Everyone possesses [unconscious biases], even people who are trained for objectivity such as judges and scientists.”

But if everyone possesses them, how can managers hope to overcome unconscious bias with the goal of increasing diversity, improving decision making and creating truly productive teams?

The answer is unconscious bias training.

The importance of unconscious bias training

Unconscious bias training gives managers the tools, experience and awareness necessary to navigate our minds. It makes us aware of the prejudices we may hold for or against certain groups of people, and by guiding us to change our behaviour, it supports the creation of an equitable workplace rich in diversity.

Unconscious bias training helps create a diverse workplace.Unconscious bias training helps create a diverse workplace.

Here are a few more things unconscious bias training can do:

1) Improve awareness
Unconscious bias is, by definition, a product of our unconscious minds. Therefore, learning to recognise its presence and effects on decision making is vital for management.

2) Create a more realistic worldview
As we build our teams and support our work environment, we base our choices on our view of the world. When that view is warped by unconscious bias, our people can suffer in ways we may not even recognise. Unconscious bias training helps avoid this possibility by offering a more realistic worldview. As Harvard Business Review describes, unconscious bias training gives attendees “information that contradicts stereotypes and allows them to connect with people whose experiences are different from theirs.”

3) Build better teams
Our teams benefit when we take unconscious bias training programs. They’ll likely notice a change in our approaches, decision making, leadership style and more. They’ll also find value in the introduction of new ideas and perspectives; after all, diversity benefits everyone.

4) Lead with confidence
We can hardly be confident leaders if our unconscious minds are working against us. To navigate the business world knowing we make decisions based on logic rather than bias, it helps to understand those biases and arm ourselves with the tools necessary to dismantle them day by day.

Make a difference today

If you’re ready to kick unconscious bias firmly out of your workplace, consider an ICML Unconscious Bias Training program. By learning to recognise and overcome unconscious bias, you’ll be able to make better, clearer, more confident decisions and improve the diversity of your teams.

Contact us today to learn more.


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