If everything and everyone at work seems to fit your expectations most of the time, you may think you’re good at reading people and situations. You might even think you have a powerful impact on those around you. Unfortunately, it’s more likely that you have confirmation bias, not highly influential power. Keep reading to learn how to notice if you have confirmation bias at work and how to fix it.
Your Opinions Inform You
If your opinions inform you more than facts, you may have confirmation bias. This is unconscious thinking. The brain is trying to work as little work as possible. Instead of learning new facts or comparing facts together, your brain looks for evidence that confirms your already set opinions. It’s much easier to simply nod in agreement to an opinion you already have than to examine your opinions and learn how they may be wrong.
You’re Never Wrong
People with confirmation bias are very seldom wrong. Again, the brain is lazily trying to get around the hard work of being proved wrong. People with confirmation biases have brains that mostly look for things they you consider to be “right.” If you notice that a certain person or situation regularly proves you right by doing exactly what you expected, then you may not be good at reading them, you may just be biased towards a certain outcome and that’s all you notice.
Break Your Opinions and Ask for Dissent
The only way to break out of your confirmation biases is to do the hard work. You must break your opinions down and ask for dissenting information as much as possible. Be aware of what forms your opinions, such as your favorite news sources and religious upbringing, so that you can better break them down. This doesn’t mean you have to disavow your favorite newspaper or throw your religious beliefs out the window. Still, you need to spend time examining them and opening your mind to other possibilities to better understand and work with others.
While examining other possibilities, ask for dissenting information. Ask a job coach, boss, trusted friend, or mentor about their favorite news sources, religious upbringing, or other circumstances that inform their worldview and biases. Listen to their dissenting information. Instead of immediately agreeing or disagreeing, examine it. This will help you examine your own biases. If they have the same biases as you, you need to expand your circle.
Now you know how to notice if you have confirmation bias at work and how to fix it. Once you’ve worked on your unconscious biases, you can help others in your circle do the same. Noticing and avoiding unconscious biases is one of the skills your project directors should have, as well as other administrators in your office. Your office will thrive as people break down their biases and broaden their horizons.