Your Facts - YOUR Story or THE Story?
Your Facts - Your Story or The Story? Unconscious Bias - a case study I had a client who was convinced that her co-worker was lazy and idle. Her belief was that she was the only person who did any work and that her colleague was a freedloader who did the bare minimum, if that, and that he rode on her coattails and yet reaped all the rewards of this relationship. It was an interesting case for it was difficult for me to ascertain the true facts of the story. After all, I was presented with a lot of ‘evidence’ of this indolence through anecdotal stories as well as snapshots of email conversations.
Whilst I fully accepted that my client believed this situation to be the truth, her truth, and that it was causing her much distress, I was also aware that the situation could not have been so clear cut. There were clues such as the 100% conviction that she was a martyr to the cause, the mantra being ‘He is a lazy s**t but I can’t let the side down so I do all the work and he lets me’. She was obsessed about clocking his work habits and comparing them to hers ‘He gets in at 8:30, sometimes 9am, while I’m slaving away at 7:30 and don’t leave till at least 12 hours later if not more, and he leaves at 5pm’.
Yet when we talked generally about individuals’ working practices and preferences such as, some like working to set and rigid hours, whilst others think and work in a more nebulous way, she understood the concept, in theory. When we tried to relate that to her situation, that argument was shut down due to the ‘evidence’ shown. I was presented with more ‘proof’ of laziness such as not answering the phone immediately while he was working from home one morning. By immediately, it meant that he did answer the phone after a few rings, just not on the first. After all, loo breaks are not allowed whilst working from home! Further ‘confirmation’ of his slothfulness was that he did not speak up much during meetings, which clearly meant that he didn’t prepare for it, even though said individual was a self-confessed and observed by others, introvert.
Much of the work this client and I did together was based on the understanding of personality characteristics, preferences, values & beliefs – of oneself and of others. All these things together, along with experience, tend to form our judgments, conscious or unconscious. Looking at the work with this client, she displayed classic signs of 1,2, 6 & 7, and some others too whilst working with her colleague. It certainly did not help their working relationship at all!!! This case study and the table (click on link) serve to remind us to think a little harder about our viewpoints before we make decisions that could really affect our behaviours and lives.
Karen Kwong is a highly experienced executive & business coach who has worked with start-ups and social enterprises through to large established corporates (including FTSE100 companies) across a number of industries including financial services, engineering, retail and media & communications. She also advises boards on their dynamics. Added to this, she spent almost twenty years working at a senior level in fund management. She also has a Masters in Organisational Psychology. For more please see here or contact her at: email@example.com
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