Seven Biases in the Workplace – Let’s Be Brutally Honest About It!

How many of us would assume an overweight employee would be slow and lazy? Photo from online human resources.

Link to part 2: More About Unconscious Bias – A Guest Blog by John Luecke

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Let’s really get honest with each other. How many have thought these things:

1. You see the pretty blond successful woman: “Yeah, she obviously got there by sleeping with the bosses.”

2. You see the overweight employee … “They are probably slow and lazy and spend half their day eating snacks at their desk.”

3. You see the new young millennial employee … “Ughh! I hope I don’t have to work with him. He will probably feel entitled, will probably want to be promoted into my job after 3 months, and will probably be playing video games all day at his desk.”

4. The older mature employee … they will never be able to keep up with change and always wants to do things the way they were done 20 years ago.

5. The single mother with three small children … “I don’t want her on my team. She’ll probably miss half of each work week taking care of child emergencies.

Do we assume a black female executive was promoted to achieve TWO diversity metrics? Photo from League of Black Women


6. The new black female executive … “Obviously promoted to fill a quota. And they get double credit with her … black AND a woman.”

7. The gay man and the lesbian. “Oh – I better be careful – all they will be thinking about all day is having sex with me.”

And of course this list is not exhaustive… I am sure you can think of several more.

So what should we do? It is important to recognize that these unconscious bias thoughts could simply pop into our head. We need to realize that they are there and that they are wrong, and take deliberate action to squelch them. Get to know each person you work with as an individual with a job to do and with key skills they bring with them. Realize the value of each and every team member, and work to promote a diverse team that works together in a mutually respectful climate to achieve the very best business results.

We can each take thoughtful preemptive action to set aside our unconscious bias to create a workplace where everyone is equally valued and treated with respect.

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Blog author Stan Kimer is career development and diversity consultant. Within the diversity and inclusion area, Stan can handle all areas of diversity, and has a deep expertise in LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender.) Please do explore the Total Engagement Consulting website to learn more of Stan’s expertise, and please do not hesitate to contact him at [email protected] to discuss how he can assist your organization in these areas.

Football, Bullying and LGBT Diversity – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.

The blog is loaded with links! Do explore them!

As a career and diversity consultant, a gay man, and a sports lover, I can’t avoid blogging about all the recent bullying and gay oriented news that has emerged in football (that’s US Football for you global readers) news over the past few days.

THE GOOD: University of Missouri All-American defensive end and proud gay man Michael Sam in the Reeses Senior Bowl (photo - CNN)

THE GOOD: University of Missouri All-American defensive end and proud gay man Michael Sam in the Reeses Senior Bowl (photo – CNN)


I have an eclectic collection of favorite sports – I enjoy watching men’s college football, women’s college basketball, figure skating (haven’t the Olympics skaters been fantastic?), and now golf since my youngest niece is about to start college on a women’s golf scholarship.

Before jumping into the recent football discussions, here are two past blogs I have written covering sports and LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) diversity.
• Last month, I published “A Rant -The 2014 Olympics, Stereotyping and Prejudice,” since there are so many misconceptions about the extremely demanding and athletic sport of figure skating. And combine that with all the brouhaha around LGBT acceptance and Russia’s new draconian laws.
• And last May, I wrote about “Five Important Ramifications of NBA Pro Basketball Player Jason Collin’s Coming Out.”

AND NOW THE GOOD: Earlier that week, University of Missouri All-American defensive end Michael Sam publically said he was an “openly, proud gay man.” What is groundbreaking with this pronouncement is that Michael Sam is about to start his pro-football career and took the risk of making this announcement before the football draft, when teams select their new players from the top graduating college standouts. This demonstrates the deep integrity of Michael Sam in being authentic about who he is and valuing his own self worth and identity above the financial ramifications of the draft. (link to longer ESPN story.)

A majority of the response has been positive with many pro teams and college football coaches confirming that nurturing diversity and fostering respect for every individual is a great goal and will build a stronger team. Check out this poignant and brilliant two minute response from an older straight white Texan sportscaster (link) who reminds us that not so many years ago, people spoke about not being comfortable with black players in the football locker rooms. And Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman says “he is not concerned about the extra attention that would come from drafting Sam.” (link to Star Tribune article.) Obviously, Spielman is more concerned about collecting the best players and building the strongest team.

THE BAD: Stanford University Graduate and Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin was the recipient of malicious, harmful bullying.  (Photo: browardpalmbeach.com)

THE BAD: Stanford University Graduate and Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin was the recipient of malicious, harmful bullying. (Photo: browardpalmbeach.com)


AND THE BAD AND UGLY: And meanwhile the shocking additional revelations about the bullying episode on the Miami Dolphins team between guard Richie Incognito and tackle Jonathan Martin. This extreme inhuman bullying which included players threatening to rape Jonathan’s sister, now extends to additional perpetrators and victims, with racial slurs along with the homophobic bullying. (Link to detailed AP story.) See also my blog about the psychology of bullying where I discuss the harmful ramifications of this scourge.

OK – enough on this. Time to get busy preparing and sending a diversity and sensitivity training proposal to the Miami Dolphins. (See my blog about training security guards after an unfortunate incident.) They sure need to learn the lesson that most American businesses have learned long ago – that building a diverse team that fosters mutual acceptance and appreciates each party’s unique talents and attributes wins in the long run.

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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

Link to Blog: Five Common Misconceptions about Gay People

Link to Blog: Five Things Never to Say to a Gay Person