Note to facilitators: Facilitators should remind the participant group that consciously uncovering their unconscious biases is a responsible and courageous act. The more people make conscious thoughts and actions, the more significant impact it will have on human relations and workplace culture.
Five ways to mitigate unconscious bias (Tursi, 2020)
The facilitator will share five ways to mitigate unconscious bias. This information can be shared simply through a facilitator-led discussion with the group discussion questions below.
1. Recognize and accept that everyone has biases
Understanding that biases are not exclusive to any one person or group helps foster empathy and humility. When individuals acknowledge their own biases and accept that they are a natural part of human cognition, they are more likely to engage in proactive efforts to mitigate them. This recognition encourages open conversations and a willingness to learn from others, leading to a more inclusive and tolerant society where people work collectively to challenge and minimize the impact of unconscious biases, promoting fairness and equality for all.
When people take the time to reflect on their beliefs and biases, they become better equipped to challenge and change them. Self-aware individuals can actively engage in self-monitoring and self-correction, fostering a more inclusive and open-minded mindset. This heightened awareness allows them to make more conscious and fair decisions, interact with others more equitably, and contribute to a more inclusive and diverse society where biases are actively mitigated rather than perpetuated.
3. Practice constructive uncertainty
When individuals actively embrace uncertainty and acknowledge that they may not have all the answers, they become more open to considering alternative perspectives and information. This mindset encourages a willingness to question one’s own assumptions and biases, leading to more thoughtful and balanced decision-making. By embracing uncertainty, people can approach situations with a greater sense of curiosity and humility, which ultimately helps reduce the influence of unconscious bias and fosters a more inclusive and fair environment where diverse viewpoints are valued and respected.
4. Explore awkwardness and discomfort
These feelings often arise when we encounter situations or perspectives that challenge our preconceived notions. By leaning into these moments of discomfort and engaging with them rather than avoiding them, individuals can uncover and address their biases. It encourages self-reflection and a willingness to learn from uncomfortable situations, leading to personal growth and a more open-minded approach.
5. Learn about people
Engage with people you consider “others” – who may fall out of your comfort zone. Create ways to give and receive feedback. Consciously try to learn about other cultures to dispel stereotypes. Ask for feedback when you are unsure about what your behavior displays. Give feedback when you see displays that might be awkward.
- Which will be the easiest for you?
- Which will be the most challenging?
- What does each mean to you?