Overcoming hidden biases at work

Even the best leaders may unconsciously inhibit diversity
By Zabeen Hirji and Stephen Shea
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 05/06/2014

You are open-minded. You are fair. You are unbiased — or so you’d like to think. Actually, research tells a dramatically different story. Despite our good intentions, we all have hidden biases. Even the best leaders may be unconsciously inhibiting diversity at their organizations and, as a result, limiting the success of their people and their business.

Hidden biases can be based on clearcut factors such as gender, race, ethnicity and age — or more subtle characteristics such as background, personality type and experiences. And most of the time we aren’t even aware that bias — either negative or preferential — exists.

Despite being unintentional, bias can have a detrimental effect on the overall success of a company by limiting potential.