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Unconscious Biases: In Your Biased Opinion...

Are you biased towards employees or coworkers? You? Of course not, but I'm not only talking about gender or race bias. Biases can be much more nuanced than we think. In fact, they may be so nuanced that we don't even know they exist. According to The Wall Street Journal, we all have biases and they can often subconsciously affect decisions.

Biases we may not detect in ourselves that can affect our attitudes towards others include judgments on how people dress, look, speak, act, smell, sound, or even walk. One might think a quiet individual disengaged or disinterested, while they are actually intensely thinking or contemplating a comment or strategy. Many of us over a certain age may find tattoos, piercings, or other body jewelry surprising to see visible in the workplace while younger generations don't even notice. Cook Ross, Inc. provides "Unconscious Bias" training for businesses: "For years it has been clear that people make decisions every day that impact some groups more negatively than others: decisions about hiring, about purchasing, about promotions, about job assignments."

Large corporations are catching on - "As many as 20% of large U.S. employers with diversity programs now provide unconscious bias training, up from 2% five years ago." With this upward trend, it's likely that this type of employee training will reach 50% in the next five years.

The take away from all of this is the old adage:

"Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged."

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