Everyone has an affinity for something. But when it comes to bias, an affinity for a particular person makes it tough to be impartial. Affinity bias makes objectivity difficult. Here, Stacey Gordon helps you see just how detrimental it can be.
- Parenting is hard and we're told that playing favorites is wrong. And so as parents we struggle to make sure everything is fair. But if you have a sibling or you're a parent yourself it isn't difficult to tell who the favorite is. And for that, you can place the blame squarely on affinity bias. Affinity bias is the tendency to warm up to people like ourselves. We favor those who have something in common with us. And so as a parent, the child who plays the same sport you did in high school, or who has your creative gene, is usually the one with whom you can relate the most and are closest to.
So how does this equate to unconscious bias in the workplace? If the person you have to write an evaluation of is someone who graduated from your alma mater, you may rate them much higher than the person with whom you have little or no connection. Unconsciously, the person with whom you have a perceived affinity will automatically have an edge over the others whether they deserve it or not. Reducing our unconscious bias as we interact with others at work can be accomplished by creating standard processes that will help you to pause before you react in favor of, or to the detriment of someone in a review process.
Working off a structure that you can apply to everyone will help to lessen the influence of bias in your decision making processes. Standardization also slows down the process so that your automatic and unconscious gut reaction can be replaced with methodical and deliberate action. Think about the last time you chose someone to work with. Why did you choose that person? If you've written a 360 review for a teammate, were your comments objective or based on feelings? Minimizing bias is not impossible and in fact, with conscious thought and standard processes, you can go a long way towards making a positive difference that can be seen and felt by others around you.
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- What's unconscious bias and why does it matter?
- The impact of bias
- Identifying unconscious bias
- Affinity bias
- Halo bias
- Perception bias
- Confirmation bias