What is a bias?
Oxford dictionary defines a bias as an "inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair."
Managers need to understand the unconscious biases in order to manage their teams fairly and effectively.
Understanding various types of unconscious biases and becoming aware of the ways that they influence your behaviour is vital to becoming a better manager.
What are various types of bias
- Stereotyping Bias - Stereotyping means unconsciously holding a "generalized" view about someone based on that person's origin, gender etc. with actually knowing the person.
- Availability Bias - The availability bias, is a mental shortcut that relies on immediate examples that come to a given person's mind when evaluating a specific topic, concept, method or decision. The availability bias operates on the notion that if something can be recalled, it must be important, or at least more important than alternative solutions which are not as readily recalled.
- Anchoring Bias - Anchoring bias, also called confirmation bias, occurs when you consciously ignore the available data and search for the data that supports your preconceived views.
- Recency Bias - Recency bias means attaching more importance to the recent information compared to the older information.
- Halo Effect Bias - Halo effect is a type of bias where an overwhelming positive trait of an individual overshadows the other negative traits.
- Horn Effect Bias - Horn effect is the opposite of halo effect and involves managers using an overwhelming negative trait about a team member to cloud their judgement about the team member's other positive contributions.
- Fundamental Attribution Error - The fundamental attribution error is the tendency to overemphasize personal characteristics and ignore situational factors in judging others’ behavior.
- Agreement Bias - Agreement bias is attributed to social norms that encourage agreeable behaviour. Managers posses an innate authority and it plays on the psychology of their team members.
- Leniency bias - Leniency error occurs when managers tend to be more lenient or going easy while giving feedback as compared to the peers giving the feedback.
- Stringency bias - Stringency bias occurs when managers tend to be more stringent or tough while giving feedback as compared to the peers giving the feedback.
- Self-serving bias - A self-serving bias is the common habit of a person taking credit for positive events or outcomes, but blaming outside factors for negative events.
- Similar to me bias - Similar to me bias is a type of bias where a a manager tends to hire or promote team members who possess traits similar to that of the manager.
How to overcome these biases?
Awareness of the various forms of unconscious bias is the first step towards overcoming. However, just being aware is not enough. Managers must structure their decision-making in various areas like hiring, feedback, performance conversations and promotion recommendations.
By structuring the processes by which people decisions are made, managers can begin to mitigate the potential impact of unconscious bias.
As a manager, can I call out when a team member is exhibiting bias?
Yes. You should definitely call out when a team member is exhibiting bias
As a team member, can I call out when my manager is exhibiting bias?
Yes. You should definitely call out when your manager is exhibiting bias