Learn to neutralize your bias
“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” — Mark Twain
Something weird happens when you go to the movies with a group of friends.
Everyone goes to watch the same film but, when it’s over, it feels like everyone has watched a different movie.
Everyone seems to have a different interpretation or got hooked with specific parts and characters.
Our personality plays a key role in how we see the world. We get excited or upset with the things that resonate with our particular way of being.
We all tend to see things as we are.
The problem lies when we just notice the part of the story that we like. And become blind (or deaf) to other people’s perspectives.
Why We Need to Amplify Our Perspectives
“The farther a problem is from the expert, the more likely that expert will solve it.” — Professor Karin Lakhanin, Harvard Business School
Our individual perspective filters the way we see the world, but also how we communicate. By becoming more aware of our biased perspective, we can increase our ability to engage with others dramatically.
Why should you care?
If you are running a team and everyone thinks the same, how far can you go? If you are starting a new business or leading an innovation program at a large firm, you want to avoid group thinking at any cost.
The more heterogeneous the members of a team, the more productive and creative the team will become.
When it comes to choosing a couple, people normally selects someone who complements their personality. By having a partner or spouse that is complementary, we can get a more balanced and richer life.
Unfortunately, in the professional world, most people tend to hire and do business with those whose are like them.
Building teams that think like you can make your team blind.
See the World Through Different Eyes
“When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” — Wayne Dyer
In order to embrace new perspectives, first you need to let go of your own bias.
This Social Media Personality quiz I created will help you understand your own perspective. I’ve been using it in many workshops successfully. Now it’s available as a a free online tool.
I want to collect data from people around the world. I want to learn how personalities vary from one country to another. For that, I need to reach a huge quota, so please spread the word.
The quiz’s purpose is to make you more receptive to other perspectives rather than just put you into a “personality box”. I selected the “Social Media” analogy to make it more relatable and flexible.
To avoid confusion, this quiz is not about your social media preferences. It’s a personality tool that uses “Social Media” as a metaphor 🙂
Remember, people see different things even though they watched the same movie. This simple and friendly tool comes with an exercise to avoid that your biased perspective gets you into trouble.
CLICK HERE to take the quiz now, or continue reading.
What Every Personality Brings to the Table
As you can see on the chart above, each Social Media Personality has a particular perspective:
- Yelpers are experience driven; they use analysis and past data to make well-informed decisions.
- Twitterers are results and action-driven, they take risks and are good at making quick decisions.
- Facebookers are relationship and people-driven, they value consensus and are good at considering personal needs.
- Instagramers are driven by inspirations and dreams, they like personal recognition and are good at imagining possibilities.
By being more open to diverse backgrounds and perspectives, you can amplify your team’s perspective. A perfect way to improve your team “change-fitness”.
Beware. Your Perspective Can Blind You
“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t,
change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou
Your individual perspective is what makes you unique. But if you overplay your strength, it will soon become a weaknesses.
Here’s how each Social Media Personality can become a prey of its own biased perspective.
Instagramers are so good dreaming that sometimes they forget to evaluate the impact of their decisions. Or, even worse, they stop listening to other’s opinions.
Their creative spirit and excitement can easily get in their way especially when dealing with more analytical minds like Yelpers. Instragramers are perceived as not appreciative of other’s ideas, especially by Facebookers.
Facebookers are so good at keeping the team motivated that they might sometimes lower the bar to keep them happy.
Caring so much about their team might make them be perceived as too protective, especially by Twitterers. Yelpers might require more facts and explanations, and find the Facebook-approach too emotional and people-oriented.
Yelpers are so good analyzing things that can slow down the process or complicate things. Or, even worse, get stuck by analysis-paralysis.
Researching and trying to validate everything could make them be perceived as too insecure or doubtful, especially by Twitterers. Facebookers could see them as too rational.
Twitterers are so good at making quick decisions that they risk jumping too fast into conclusions or not listening to others. Even if they do, people might think they are not actually paying attention.
Focusing mostly on the headline and moving too fast into action can jeopardize relationships, especially with Facebookers. Yelper personalities are very analytical when making decisions, which tends to create tensions when they deal with Twitterers.
Try This Exercise
Ask your partner and colleagues to take the Social Media Personality quiz too.
Compare their results to yours.
Check the differences and similarities. Try to remember moments when those differences created a tension. Ask yourself “why?”
Now think of what are the behaviors that you can soften or change to be more “receptive” to their perspective.
Ask them to do the same analysis.
Compare results. Experiment letting go of your “biased perspective” and being more open to those who see things differently. Check your progress.
Iterate and adjust.
Amplify your Team’s perspective
Learn about our in-company workshops: firstname.lastname@example.org
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