The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias | Anne Chow

Summary of: The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias: How To Reframe Bias, Cultivate Connection, and Create High-Performing Teams
By: Anne Chow


In the book ‘The Leader’s Guide to Unconscious Bias’, Anne Chow takes us on a journey to explore our inherent biases and how they affect our connections and teams. The book provides a four-step model for identifying and mitigating unconscious biases, beginning with self-awareness and understanding, followed by cultivating connection with others, choosing courage in overcoming biases, and applying these lessons throughout a career. Through vignettes and relatable stories, readers gain insights into maintaining an organization that values diversity and creates opportunities for all.

Understanding Bias

This book prompts readers to examine their personal biases and consider the origins of these biases. The process involves identifying personal characteristics that may lead to bias, both positive and negative, and exploring the impact of these biases on themselves and others. The ultimate goal is to recognize personal biases and move beyond them. The chapter encourages introspective thinking and provides an example of one of the authors experiencing and overcoming a personal bias. This exercise is a crucial step towards understanding biases and mitigating their effects.

Tackling Unconscious Bias

The book provides a four-step model to tackle unconscious bias introduced by coaching company FranklinCovey. The steps include Identifying Bias, Cultivating Connection, Choosing Courage, and applying the model across the Talent Lifecycle. The book tackles different forms of biases that affect decision-making at work, including confirmation bias, anchoring bias, attribution bias, and in-group bias. These biases can prompt other biases listed in the first exercise, making it crucial to identify and address unconscious biases to progress in one’s career.

Overcoming Biases at Work

To tackle unconscious biases, one needs to cultivate connections by deploying skills like curiosity and empathy. Mentorship and coaching opportunities are vital in making sure everyone in your team is properly supported.

Identifying biases at work is just half the battle won. What can you do about it is the bigger question. The answer lies in the second step of the four-step model to tackle unconscious bias: cultivate connection. Pamela, while interviewing job candidates, struggled to identify the better one to hire, as she was influenced by her biases. She was swayed by the first candidate as she shared a relatable experience with her, and in the case of the second candidate, she concluded that he wasn’t prepared based on his nervousness and expensive watch. But the truth was, she didn’t display enough curiosity about the second candidate and missed out on understanding his unique perspective and skills.

To overcome biases, one must deploy skills like curiosity and empathy when dealing with potential hires and colleagues. Making connections and building networks help develop a deep understanding of people and their unique strengths. Mentorship and coaching opportunities are essential in creating a supportive environment for everyone in the team. Focusing on these aspects will help escape the trap of being influenced by biases and recruiting people just like oneself. So, the next time you find yourself making a decision based on a bias, pause and deploy skills like curiosity and empathy to make a wiser decision.

Tackling Bias Head-on

In dealing with unconscious bias, it is essential to choose courage and confront the damage it can cause. This involves understanding when you are biased, coping with being on the receiving end of bias, and responding to it strategically. Harnessing the power of community and prioritizing self-care are also critical steps. It takes courage to speak out, but it is usually well worth doing.

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