Have you noticed lately a lot of articles circulating on the topic of eliminating bias in the workplace or within organizations? Over the past week I have had numerous posts and articles show up on my newsfeed on Linkedin. It seems that the corporations are promoting this concept as an important goal to set especially in interview and assessment procedures.
Well, I disagree.!! It sounds nice, maybe even sensible , but in reality it is unrealistic and impossible to achieve!
I understand where companies are coming from. Corporations feel the pressure to create an inclusive and equal opportunity environment , while maintain high levels of productivity and performance! The truth is that most organizations are struggling with this and don't know how to create such an environment. While it all sounds good, trying to eliminate all bias is actually destructive to an organization and to humanity as a whole and here's why.
Our bias is a perspective that is shaped by a combination of our experiences, education, strengths, personality and worldview. When you seek to remove all bias from conversations, you will be devaluing the very thing that makes each person unique. In the process, you will shut down creativity and innovation and resort to doing whatever the top dog in the chain of command wants. Oh, and by the way, that decision maker will be acting from their own bias- that is human nature.
Eliminating bias in the true sense of the word is seeking to neuter an organization , creating emotionless employees and a zombie like environment, which will present a whole new set of challenges.
I believe what companies really want to create is a culture that is free of negative discrimination and prejudice based on differences of race, religion and gender. Bias in and of itself is not bad , it is part of the unique perspective that each person brings to the table in healthy collaboration. Healthy bias is actually the lifeblood of an organization and necessary for growth and expansion. A skilled leader will welcome the unique and healthy perspectives and be able to address the unhealthy form of bias that leads to prejudice and negative discrimination. If an organization is struggling with knowing how to do this, investing in the services of a qualified coach or consultant will help the organization successfully move forward. Hiring a coach or trainer specializing in communication, positive psychology and change management would be a wise step towards learning how to cultivate a healthy work environment where creativity, critical thinking and unique perspectives are welcomed and where equal opportunity and mutual respect thrive.