‘Unconscious bias training” is being scrapped for civil servants in England, with ministers saying it does not work’.

(BBC News)

‘The training, intended to tackle patterns of discrimination and prejudice, is used in many workplaces.  The government says there is no evidence it changes attitudes – and is urging other public sector employers to end this type of training’.

What is behind my hurrah?  I knew it would not work!  The trick with inclusion is consciousness.  Helping people to be the best of themselves at work and see the best in others.  How do we do that?  By bringing the best of ourselves, the real us, all of us to work.

When we bring the best version of ourselves, we are all great in our own ways,  The colour of our skin, our culture, religion, gender etc are all irrelevant.

People share that unconscious bias training has emphasised challenges like discrimination at work.  All of the thousands of iAM’ s that we have had the privilege to create show very clearly that we are all good.  The challenge is our lack of self awareness, our own self consciousness and our inability to consciously manage our reactions.  Our insecurities can create assumptions about others.  We fear judgement so we judge.  We use competitive strategies or prove it strategies along with control and autonomy all of which can be read as uninclusive and not maximising inclusion.

This is not about changing behaviour; it is about us being our best with awareness.

In the BBC article, Dr Forscher said such training (unconscious-bias) had too often been used by employers as a “catch all”, which failed to really tackle the specific barriers for different groups.

‘Unconscious bias is any detectable bias in our attitudes or behaviour that operates outside of our awareness’.

So, let’s all work on our attitude and behaviour and lift our self-awareness.  We can start by being conscious that every positive behaviour in our eyes could be seen as challenging by others;

Positivity – Unrealism

Openness – Oversharing

Organisation – Control

Empowerment – Sloped shoulders

People see others through their own eyes, values and beliefs.  You may think you are being hands on and getting stuck in, but others may think you are getting too close, checking up and micromanaging.  Most of us never think about this.  To us our behaviour is positive, or just what it is.  Make a list of how you like to show up and reflect on the negatives that people might see or experience as a result.

What else can you action to lift your self-awareness, here are just a few of our tips – I could go on forever!

  • Notice others, all the time. This is not about being self-conscious, it is about giving people what they need to be their best.  Pick up the signals and act on them vs. your own agenda.
  • See the best in others. Most see behaviours and take them as who a person is.  Be the one who sees the real person in others beyond their behaviours and speak to that person.
  • Build a stronger relationship with yourself. Spend time with you in silence, ask yourself questions, opinions. Create an inner dialogue.
  • Challenge yourself on your coping mechanisms and prove it strategies. Do you always need to be right?  Do you feel that you need to impress people?  The second that you step into these you can also step out of balance and others will potentially see non inclusive behaviours as a result.
  • Make work about others, not about you. Those who aim to help and make a difference to people generally are also inclusive.  If you see work as a competition or a test of your competence and skill, you will not be bringing all of the best of you to work and your relationships.

The greatest lever in your success is you.  If you are unconscious of yourself, you may not bring the success that you could.  Work is the perfect window to experience and be the best of you.