Hi, my name is Partha. Welcome to my personal website and blog.

Understanding Implicit Bias In Leadership

Understanding Implicit Bias In Leadership

We've all got subtle understandings of the world that bias the way we think, and when you are working to build a business, the last thing you need are these biases affecting the way your team thinks and operates to solve problems.

Implicit bias is one of my biggest challenges as a leader. To truly build an innovative company, I have to make sure not only that I am thinking with as minimal a bias as possible, but also that my words don't create additional bias within the way my team attacks problems and innovates.

Wrench in the Machine

I first saw that I had an impact on the way my team solved problems when we were overcoming some early sales hurdles. I wanted my team to adapt quickly and attack new market verticals to find the areas of fastest adoption, but they were only operating within a certain subset of the hospital market.

I was confused because I knew the team was smart enough to find and test different markets, but it was almost as if they were actively choosing not to.

I investigated the problem and had an open dialogue, and it turned out some of the phrasing I had used when I set the problem statement for them had caused them to specifically focus on a hospital subset rather than on all market verticals.

Simply because of my position as a leader, and because I had been careless with my phrasing of a problem statement, it had created implicit bias in the way the problem was being solved.

The Takeaway

I took these learnings from my sales team, and how my phrasing of a problem statement created bias, and I applied it when I went to my R&D team. I changed the way that I spoke about problems, and never referred to any potential pathways to a solution. Instead I only focused on the pure problem, and the end goal that I wanted the R&D solutions to achieve.

The key learning was this: when you are a leader, any pathway to a solution that you suggest will be prioritized. This is the implicit bias you create in your team's creative process.

So why is anything you say as a leader prioritized? And why does it cause implicit bias and create such drastic differences in creativity and problem solving? It's actually a pretty easy answer - social pressure.

To be a great leader, and to encourage creativity, you must be aware of the implicit bias you cause.

The Hard Part

The Hard Part

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