A recent article written by Rebecca Knight for the Harvard Business Review is called How to Manage a Hybrid Team. The hybrid team is one where some team members are working virtually while others are physically present in the office. While there was a lot of great content, one section called Strive for equity jumped out at me. Ms. Knight wrote that “another risk in a hybrid environment is that it will exacerbate your own baggage and biases about particular employees. In other words, you’ll continue to hold your star employees in high regard and you’ll continue to see the employees you’re adversely predisposed to in a negative light. It may be human nature, but that doesn’t make it right.” She also noted that the bias may be unconscious. The fact that it is an unconscious behavioral should not be an excuse for ignoring it.
This bias to which she refers is known as confirmation bias the premise of which is that people unconsciously select information that supports their views but ignore non-supportive information. While we all need to be careful and aware of this bias in the workplace, we see it at play in our culture every day. If you have ever been cut off by someone changing lanes and concluded that they were an idiot, stupid, inconsiderate or other adjectives that I can’t mention here, then you’ve been impacted by this bias. Further, I believe it is unreasonable to think that the solution to eliminating the bias is to simply change our behavior. Technology and whatever media your follow push us toward confirmation bias rather than away from it. That doesn’t mean that there is nothing to be done. We can be aware that this unconscious bias is part of us and when someone is unkind, we can temper our reaction. I don’t want to excuse bad behavior but perhaps we should step back, take a breath, try to not be judgmental, and show more compassion than disdain.
This week’s selection is:
After a young woman is accused of lying about a rape, two female detectives investigate a spate of eerily similar attacks. Inspired by true events. I feel like this series is a perfect fit for this week’s edition as the events deal with how being judgmental can lead to tragedy.