The next time a conversation comes up about whether or not someone is qualified to do what they are doing, ask yourself if you have some form of bias.
For example, you see a fiftyish looking woman holding hands with her thirty year old boyfriend. Some thoughts that might go through your mind are “This guy is too young for her,” or “He is probably out for her money.” You must realize that those kinds of thoughts indicate an age biased assumption.
When you see a fifty five year old male secretary in a business office and you think he is out of place, that is age bias, and probably gender bias as well. Just because the secretary is male and over fifty doesn’t mean he can’t fulfill the requirements of the position. The fact is, he probably enjoys what he is doing and does an excellent job
Finally, what would you think if you peered through the glass wall at an automotive dealership, and viewed a twenty year old female automotive mechanic? If one of your first thoughts is, “I hope she doesn’t work on my car,” you are probably gender biased. These are a few of the everyday scenarios that we can observe by just looking around.
One of the problems you run into is when you start judging other people based on your own preconceived notions, is you close your mind to the possibilities that exist.
Limits Exist in Your Own Mind
Unfortunately, if you are a business owner, manager or employee, age or gender bias will hinder the productivity of your organization. The limits that exist in your own mind will artificially limit what other people are capable of doing. Just because you think they can’t do something, doesn’t mean they can’t. They probably enjoy doing it and do an excellent job at it.
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Tom Borg is president of Tom Borg Consulting, LLC. He is a business consultant, speaker, coach and author. He shows companies and organizations how to attract and retain more clients and customers.