Biases are storming block to decision making, they do not give a true picture of situation, occasion, event or happening. This may be because of an experience, religion, culture or even no reason at all. Funny but true how at times we decide to be adamant in our choice for no reason whatsoever. At times, the human factor affects us through emotions. According to Wikipedia, “bias is a disproportionate weight in favor of or against an idea or thing, usually in a way that is closed-minded, prejudicial, or unfair. Biases can be innate or learned. People may develop biases for or against an individual, a group, organization or a belief”.
Levels to Decision Making
A decision made from a biased point of view shows irrationality especially from a senior management. It denotes conclusion derived from a one-sided view. Biased decision makers are not objective or logical because of their closed mindedness to the situation at hand. There are levels to decision making namely: strategic, tactical, or operational. Regardless of the level or stage, either decision is already processed, calculated, and planned, it still has tendency of being biased.
Considering Different Biases: Cultural Bias
While there are different biases, I will talk briefly about the common ones. Firstly, cultural bias: this bias is rampant in this part of the world. It is a type of bias that see specific culture in a particular light. It favors some culture over some others. This makes us stereotype in decision making. An example is concluding that everyone from Ijebu in Ogun state is stingy because your neighbor delays payment. To you, this automatically means everyone from Ijebu is stingy; such decision may not necessarily be true. Your cultural bias then makes you advise every lady you meet not to date or marry Ijebu men because they are stingy. A wrong conclusion that is.
Optimism or Pessimism Bias
This type focuses on making judgment according to mood. A decision is reached based on feelings at the time. I advise that decisions should not be made when one is overly joyful or sad. This is because the high emotion level often time messes with one’s choice. A lady that decides never to talk to her boss again because she made her angry will end up regretting such decision in the long run because it was made with high emotions. How do you become productive when your supervisor is your enemy due to bias? The above bias is estimated depending on the mood we are.
We tend to conclude or decide that everyone else is wrong except us. This type of bias gives excuses and see wrong in others except us. The bias here makes us not take responsibilities that we should take. When we achieve success, we tend to applaud self but when things don’t go as planned, we blame it on someone else. An example is Chinyere, the CEO of YereHomes concludes that the reason there is so much profit is because she has been the one solely bringing the customers. When profit declines, she blames it on the staff she has excluding herself.
This happens when we use available information to make decisions on something regardless of relevance. An example is using 2019 financial statement of Guinness Nigeria to make a financial decision in 2021 when the right data to use is for the year 2020. The data becomes bias, so will your decision.
Techniques for Leading Unbiased Sessions
Unbiasedness can be learnt; it is possible to be logical with continuous training/practice. Firstly, brainstorm and work with people comfortable to share or voice their ideas. Secondly, be neutral. Thirdly, present the situation in an unbiased fashion and remember to write down every idea. Fourthly, encourage people to focus on the objective not their personal perusal. Use probing question and let the team know in advance that their ideas are valid. Do not be so defensive, learn to manage your emotions. Be logical and anticipate other’s position; factor their position into your thought process. Read your audience and find a middle point. Make good use of logos, ethos, and pathos appropriately.
In Conclusion, A decision becomes ethical when the intention and morality are right. Biased decision making is real. We should come to the consciousness of accepting our biases and work consciously to becoming better. Whereas we are all work in progress, meaning getting better is allowed