Did you know that there are 150 different types of unconscious biases? Do you know what unconscious biases are? These are learned beliefs, assumptions or attitudes that we hold about ourselves and other individuals which exist within our subconscious. They also affect the way we think and feel about ourselves and other people.
Humans will naturally gravitate towards those who look and sound just like us. Our brain partly functions in survival mode and looks out for threats. It’s goal is to protect us, and we make decisions based on what makes us feel safe.
Today, we will focus on five unconscious biases that exist within organisations.
So, how can we change our biases and beliefs? How can we create a culture of inclusion? How can we become inclusive leaders?
We can do this by introspecting and looking within ourselves. Self awareness is key to helping us become courageous, confident and inclusive leaders. Once you identify your biases and beliefs, you can then turn to the stories you’ve been telling yourself. This will also highlight how we’ved viewed the world based on what we learnt as children.
As a child you may have heard your parents speak about people from different ethnicities or religious groups. It may have been on reaching retirement age and having to prepare for a younger manager to take over. It may have been about a female CEO taking over the position of an outgoing male CEO. Or a person with a physical disability who wouldn’t be put forward for promotion as they are ‘often off sick’. These are just a few stories you may have heard growing up.
An inclusive leader is one who has the courage to transform their own beliefs, challenge the norms and educate their teams around their own thinking. It means standing up and speaking out about policies, practises and decisions regarding recruitment, training and promoting employees. It’s about making an impact and highlighting that an organisation’s current inclusive practises are metric based and not in the best interests of employees. It’s about looking at their senior team of leaders and suggesting changes to reflect diversity and inclusiveness.
Here are five steps your organisation can take today to become more inclusive.
The benefits are immense, as an inclusive workforce can boost morale, increase employee engagement and productivity. Employees may even trust the organisation more as they feel a sense of belonging and are safe enough to voice their opinion. They can use their creativeness in different areas of their work as well. This positive environment can also help reduce stress, absenteeism and conflict amongst team members.
Through my work, I advocate for leaders to implement holistic inclusive employee models and encourage everyone to work together. Taking action, being accountable and embedding diversity and inclusiveness into their policies, processes and practises, will help pave the way for all employees to have equal opportunities.
This is part of my entrepreneurial journey as I work on reaching even more women globally. Now is the time for women to stand up and speak up for what they believe in without fear of judgement or backlash. That is what I also plan to do here, in this series of articles on MaltaCEOs.mt. My aim is to help women overcome their biases, barriers and beliefs that have kept them unfulfilled and feeling lost.
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