All supervisors in your organization fit one of four bias profiles. See if you can guess which one is the most likely to provoke a discrimination lawsuit:
- Dan. He’s aware of his biases and goes right ahead and acts upon them. He’s the kind of boss who wouldn’t think twice about, say, denying jobs to qualified minorities or excluding women from promotion opportunities.
- Kim. She knows her biases and holds them in check. She does whatever it takes to make sure her biases don’t influence her hiring, firing and promotion decisions.
- Chris. She has unconscious biases. For example, Chris might be proud of her Irish heritage and not even be aware that she just … feels more comfortable around Irish people. But in the workplace she plays by the rules. She adheres strictly to policies and procedures, so her biases don’t get her into trouble.
- Alex. He has biases and is unaware of them. They’re not nearly as strong as Dan’s, and Alex would be shocked if anyone accused him of discriminating.
You might be tempted to say Dan is the most dangerous of the lot. But I don’t think so. The good news is that if you did make the mistake of promoting him, you’d quickly figure out he was a powder keg, and you’d demote or fire him before he triggered a discrmination lawsuit.
Alex is the time bomb because he’s hard to spot. You’d have to know him pretty well to recognize his biases. In such cases, what you don’t know could really hurt you.
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