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Counterintuitive or Ways Museum Workers Can Resist Bias at Work

confirmation-bias
  1. Know yourself. Do you prefer one employee over another? Instead, spend time with the person you prefer less. Make an effort to understand them and their point of view. Identify your own bias so you can keep things equitable.

  2. Remember that as a leader you model behavior for your staff, team, department. Bias toward an employee may lead to the entire group isolating that person.

  3. Research shows that white Americans associate positivity with white folks and negativity with black folks. That may not be what people say they believe, but it is the result when psychologists test for implicit bias. If you're a white American, unpack those bags before you interview, hire, or do an annual performance review.

  4. A lot of people are biased against women in leadership positions. That is not code for men don't like women leaders, that's a sentence that means a lot of men and women are unconsciously more comfortable with a male leader. You may want to take AAUW's Implicit Association Test to help you sort out your own feelings.

  5. Know that having a diverse team or staff doesn't eliminate bias. That's how your staff looks. How they behave is something else. Self-awareness, empathy and understanding are all necessary weapons against bias. Work at developing them.

  6. You may think you're a great communicator, but find out if that's true. Provide feedback so you know whether your staff, team, department has the safety and sense of belonging it needs. Leadership Matters will be back next week with a Holiday Reading List to tide you over until 2017. In the meantime, be well, and tell us how you eliminate bias in your museum workplace. Joan Baldwin

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