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๐—ช๐—ต๐—ฎ๐˜ ๐—ฌ๐—ผ๐˜‚ ๐——๐—ผ๐—ป'๐˜ ๐—ž๐—ป๐—ผ๐˜„ ๐— ๐—ฎ๐˜† ๐—›๐˜‚๐—ฟ๐˜

Updated: Oct 29


Various cognitive preconceptions may influence our leadership without us knowing.



Letโ€™s review how some powerful biases that may be affecting your decisions and discuss the best defenses against them.



Negativity Bias


Negativity bias occurs when measuring two pieces of information and the bad input far outweighs the good one.


It makes us risk adverse and slow to act by dwelling on flaws.*


Best Defense

  • Record your accomplishments weekly and revisit often

  • Announce wins to the team

  • Stop rumination if the negative comments linger



Confirmation Bias


Confirmation Bias is when we readily embrace information supporting our own ideas and ignore othersโ€™ ideas.


We tend to over index on our beliefs and disregard contrary facts.


Best Defense

  • Encourage and test all new ideas

  • Rely on diverse people

  • Rank preferences privately



Bandwagon Effect


The Bandwagon Effect is selecting based on limited information.


For instance, the first person in a group to give their opinion anchors the thoughts of others.


Best Defense

  • Ask for suggestions and ranking privately

  • Avoid decisions based on competitors' actions

  • Revisit your values when making hard choices



Affinity Bias


Affinity Bias is when we prefer people who look and think like us.


The bias can occur in hiring, promotions, and terminations.


Best Defense

  • Ensure diverse applicants, objective criteria, and unbiased screening

  • Review promotions and bonuses across demographics for parity

  • Confirm training and other perks are fairly distributed



Framing Effect


Framing Effect is the tendency to see any information through the lens by which it is first presented and ignoring other options.


When only one candidate is presented to hire, we are tempted sorely to consider them over no one. Instead, wait for the best person.


Best Defense

  • Open discussions to a range of possibilities

  • Have the team present the problem first and later offer solutions

  • Use pre-determined standards to later evaluate job performance



Loss Aversion Bias


Loss Aversion (or Sunk Cost) occurs when we stick with choice longer than we should due to an emotional investment.


We hesitate to stop a major project or to fire someone because itโ€™s difficult to cut our losses, even if itโ€™s best to move forward.


Best Defense

  • Evaluate programs on a go-forward basis based on the metrics

  • Review performance objectively against set measures

  • Engage outside resources not grounded by legacy thinking



Overall Considerations


We often confuse comfort for confidence. Learn to question your assumptions. Knowing that you may be misled, here are a couple more tips:


๐Ÿง  Challenge yourself to learn with data and through other perspectives


๐Ÿง  Identify how each bias may be impacting your behavior and success


๐Ÿง  Revisit this list quarterly


๐Ÿง  Assign a โ€œdevilโ€™s advocateโ€ to best capture potential risks, especially with a large decision



Knowing cognitive biases exist will encourage you to make stronger decisions that are more likely to benefit you and the business in the longer term.


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* Studies show that it takes at least five good encounters to offset the feeling from one bad one: http://bit.ly/3iH3EwI


For a full list of cognitive biases, check here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases


Illustration by Elisa Riva who can be found here: https://www.instagram.com/elisa_riva/

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