Unconscious Bias

As our year comes to a close it’s a perfect time of year to reflect on our own unconscious bias. The challenge, of course, is that bias is unconscious so we need to first look outside ourselves for evidence of our own hidden prejudices. It tends to permeate across all elements of our lives: family, friends, work, total strangers we pass judgment on.

It may be the way we speak with our children; what we encourage and discourage them from doing in their lives. It may be friends; which ones we choose to hang out with and which ones we distance ourselves from. It maybe work-related; who we hire, promote, accept in our work tribes. It may be reactions to people we have never met and our opinions on how they are behaving.

It also occurs in our preferences; what we read, where we socialise, what we eat.

And it may be mirrored back in what others are saying to us: ‘you really should lighten up,’ ‘is that fair?,’ ‘don’t you think you should consider another option?’ And to further murky the already muddied waters, be mindful that the feedback we give and the feedback we received reflects the unconscious bias of the feedback giver. So be mindful of this the next time you are giving your own sage advice to another and, indeed, when you are sifting through the advice dished out to you!

I was listening to our first Australian Women in STEM Ambassador, Professor Lisa Harvey-Smith, and she had some interesting thoughts how unconscious bias expresses itself in the world of female science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) graduates, resulting in subtle yet dramatic ‘pipeline leaks’ (aka ‘women leaving the field’). While 40% of STEM graduates are female, only 16% are remaining in the field. Lisa claims the reasons are many, including: imbalance in financial bonuses, leadership training access, career opportunities, pay, bonuses, inclusion in conversations and decisions…with men benefitting to a consistently greater degree than their female equivalents.

Click here to check out your own biases

Harvard unintentional bias test: Harvard Implicit Association Test (IAT)

#STEM #pipelineleak #unintentionalbias #unconsciousbias

Me in 2018

What have I been up to, you well may ask?

A very busy year for me on many fronts:

  • involved in lots of leadership work with individual leaders and leadership teams across the public, private and non-profit sectors – thank you to all of you who have allowed me into your work lives and trusted me to partner with you in your workplace successes.

  • Also slogging away at my book, which is inching closer to completion and which I will definitely be celebrating and shouting my achievement from the rooftops once it’s all done! Check out a little teaser here

  • And on a personal note, navigating my husband’s Asperger diagnosis, which has been a tough yet extremely positive expedition for my family throughout 2018.

#teamleadership #leadershipcoaching #bookwriting #aspergers

Stats Time

And it wouldn’t be a Quarterly Leadership Newsletter without the requisite stats to further pique your own unintentional bias interest (source: various research articles from Monash Business School, Impact research articles):

  • People with Chinese names send in 68% more CVs to land a job interview than Anglo Aussies

  • People with Middle Eastern names sit at 64% more CVs

  • Companies with the most ethnically diverse executive teams are 33% more profitable (source: McKinsey)

  • Girls get less pocket money than boys (imprecise stat, I know, sorry!)

  • Women hold 13.7% of chair positions, 24.9% of directorships, 16.5% are CEOs and 29% sit in key management positions despite women making up 47% of all employed persons across Australia

  • Companies with more executive women have 34% higher return to stakeholders

  • By 2050 eight out of 10 people will be over 60 in the developed world. We are living 25 years longer than our great-grandparents

  • A third of older people experienced discrimination based on age, 8.8% gender and 7.7% nationality (source: Indeed survey)

  • 54% of workers age 65 and older say they are “completely satisfied” with their jobs, compared with just 29% of workers aged 16 to 64


As I’ve been busy writing my book, and thus I have been incredibly slack in sharing my blog wisdom! Here’s my measly contribution for the entire 2018 year…

To make up for it. Here is also a sneak peak at an excerpt from my book (in case you missed my earlier prompt)

And just to ensure I add a diversity of wise voices beyond my own. Here are some articles to slip between the pages of your novel as you head down to the beach this summer:

#behaviouraleconomics #irrationalbias #unconsciousbias #influence

Thank you

A big thanks to my diligent Online Business Manager, Sarah Mansfield, who has been by my business side throughout 2018 working away in the background and will continue to be my trusted advisor and support in 2019.

#businesssuccess #virtualassistant #grateful #thankyou

And thank you to each of my readers, clients, colleagues, friends, family and acquaintances: May the Festive Season treat each of you well and may 2019 be a year of good health and contentment…see you all on the other side…


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