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Unconscious Bias for Leadership


A lot of business leaders and managers are talking about mental health at work, which is great because it raises awareness of this important subject.


But not so many of those leaders or managers are talking about 'they' might impact the mental health of their employees.


Who really impacts the health of employees? Actually, it is quite simple, it is the boss! Leadership style accounts for 90% of mental health problems in the workplace. A stressed-out manager will inevitably create a stressed-out team. A supervisor who fails to see that her team is at risk of melt-down will more than likely cause melt-down.


The big question in all of this is, do leaders, managers and supervisors consciously behave in a way that negatively impacts the wellbeing of their employees? Or, do they cause mayhem in complete ignorant bliss!


Possibly the latter?


Unconscious bias plays a big part


The reality is, our attitudes and behaviour towards other people can be influenced as much by our instinctive feelings as by our rational thought process. In fact, our brains and minds are highly developed organs that rely almost entirely on unconscious decisions.


Here is a little test you can try. Look at the photo for ten seconds, then write down the first five thoughts you had while looking at the image.

unconscious bias

managing change

motivating employees

mental health at work

behavioural safety

improving performance


leadership skills


While looking at the photograph your unconscious mind is doing all the work. Some people will dislike the picture because they hate coffee, while others will think they are in heaven because they love coffee.


While your unconscious mind is doing all the work, your conscious mind is thinking about other stuff. Because of this, you may have missed something important in the photo?


We categorise people using our unconscious minds


Our unconscious minds instinctively categorise people in much the same way.


Eye movements, hand gestures and facial expressions all contribute to 'unconscious bias'. We judge people unconsciously and this can get us into all sorts of trouble. Discrimination, unfair treatment of employees, and asking too much from our teams can all contribute to mental distress. Low productivity, lack of motivation and low morale can all be caused by unconscious bias.


Is there an answer to unconscious bias?


Thankfully, we can be trained to avoid unconscious bias.


There are lots of tests that our trainers use during our one-day Unconscious Bias for Leadership course. These tests will give delegates an insight into how they perceive themselves and, more importantly, how others perceive them.


Our one-day course covers:


  • What is unconscious bias?
  • How does the unconscious mind process information
  • Why do we instantly dislike some people?
  • How do we perceive ourselves
  • Learning about our personal biases
  • Uncovering personal biases
  • Recalibrating our behaviour to avoid unconscious bias
  • Motivating employees simply by changing our gestures
  • Putting unconscious bias to work


If you would like to find out more about our Unconscious Bias for Leadership please get in contact.


By the way, did you spot the face in the coffee beans? If so, well done. Your unconscious bias might not be too strong.