Interrupting biases for financial prosperity

Whilst words or expressions could be unintentional, the impact could lead to repercussions, which is why leaders should be cautious about the impact of their words which can cause further financial implications by losing their employees.

“Understand the impact and  do better,” said Vernā Myers,  Cultural Innovator, Thought Leader, and Social Commentator, VP, Inclusion Strategist, Netflix during her keynote speech Inclusive Leadership: Moving Diversity & Inclusion Forward on the second day of HR Summit & Expo, (HRSE) Dubai 2022.

Myers said that diversity is often what people think they have seen, they are not  always right on what they think they can see, they often just see the tip of the iceberg. Diversity and Inclusiveness often is about the commonality and not just the differences.

Culture impacts communication and conflict resolution, team building and productivity, work allocation, opportunity, hiring and performance evaluation, mentoring and sponsoring; she said.

“Culture affects who we mentor, which is often people who are like us, although those who are not like us need mentoring the most because they are trying  to fit in a culture that is not theirs,” Myers added.

For individual leaders to promote inclusion, she explains, they have to use more inclusive language and have a process to solicit feedback. Nonetheless, welcome, acknowledge and consider new ideas.

“Our brain has come to a conclusion without telling you,” she  said, “What things go together that’s how brains work. So we take shortcuts and  have biases.”

Myers outlined a few unconscious biases such as In group favoritism that often appears as looking for people from similar background or people leaders could be familiar with.

“Stop looking for the stars, make them by sharing ideas  and then you will start motivating your whole team rather than just a few people,” she said. During her speech, she empathizes on the importance of rotating opportunity by considering the entire list of people who could have the opportunity and not just the ones the leaders are comfortable with.

To weaken your biases, she said, leaders must work to expand  their social network by getting more data and asking  questions while also ensuring they slow down  their decisions.

“We are primed  to see success in a specific way,  think  about a counterexample who is in your organization that doesn’t look like how a leader  should look like,” she said.

She explained to look for micro – inequity within their decisions; those are repeated slight or indignities, often subtle and often unintentional like a joke or  mispronouncing  someone’s name.

They have a cumulative impact and lead to frustration and low productivity “makes people feel they always will be seen in a particular way,” she explained.

Myers said she encourages organizations to create accountability where people ask, motivate and measure their success. She explained that it is very important for leaders to get know themselves so they become keen on getting to know their own biases and ask themselves the questions to decrease their biases towards others.