How do you know?

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to explain the concept of multidirectional workplace bias.

I gave an example of a time, twenty years ago when I wrongly sensed racial bias towards me from a prospect C suite decision maker that asked me to present to his management team. I sensed racial bias towards me because he was bizarrely cold and seemingly hostile on this occasion when he had previously been  so cheerful and friendly! So I assumed that he was embarrassed about putting me forward for a high profile sales training assignment due to my race and ethnicity. I was wrong!  I eventually won the business.

It later transpired that he wasn’t as friendly when introducing me to his team, because he didn’t want to unduly influence his team’s decision. He wanted them to come to their own conclusions about my consultancy’s offering on their own as opposed to conforming to his opinion.

Can you believe  that the person I told this story to a few  weeks ago refused to accept that I was the guilty perpetrator of reverse unconscious bias in this instance? They said : “No Buki your initial suspicions were correct  he  was racially biased  towards you, because if you were a white male he wouldn’t have been hostile. I said: “how do you know?… that’s your bias!”

Buy your copy of “I Don’t Understand: Navigating Unconscious Bias in the Workplace” here on Amazon.

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