Decisions guided by bias affect your decisions

Many managers’ decisions are guided by bias. There are approximately 200 different types of bias. A bias is actually a mistaken decision. It is an automatic and unconscious mechanism that gets in your way of making clear decisions. We all have a different levels of bias and they are context-dependent. When dribbling a ball on a basketball court, it may be a kind of bias that affects your decision about where to move. For managers in sales meetings, you may have a bia that affects your choices and how you develop a  strategy. Your decisions are often consciously or unconsciously guided by bias, which can have positive and negative affects on your leadership and those around you. Read more to learn 7 ways you can make better decisions and minimise bias.

Behavioural economist Sally Khallash (PhD) and I speak about how we can make better decisions and minimise bias which influences our ability to reach our greater potential.

Excessive self-esteem makes other decisions worse

According to research by Sally, excessive self-esteem makes other decisions worse. Sally grouped 200 biases into eight categories, which you will see if you take her test. This bias is also known as the mother-of-all biases because it enhances all the others. An example is when you underestimate how much time something will take.

A longer version

In the video above, Sally Khallash and I speak about how to evaluate the quality of a decision (3 min 13 sec, in English). We also made a longer version that includes our entire conversation. If you want to hear more about her valuable perspective and how decisions are made in organisations, check out the full-length video where Sally shares some interesting concepts.

Bias in groups

We also discuss how group think is a bias that prevents innovation from blooming since many people unconsciously have a bias that will cause disturbances within a group. At the same time, group think is a bias that makes cooperation more enjoyable. We tend to like people who look, act and think more like ourselves.

7 ways to make better decisions and minimise bias

Throughout our conversation, Sally and I develop some advice on 7 ways to make better decisions and minimise bias from a management perspective:

  1. Change your bias through mental training or bias awareness. Throughout life, you can consciously develop your brain and change your way of thinking. You can learn more about this through my Executive coaching course.
  2. Choose one person for the job. Sally suggests that if you are aware of each other’s bias, you can choose one person for the job. For example, it is sometimes the person with the highest tendency of risk who is capable of making the best decisions for the group.
  3. Get an outside perspective. One of the biggest biases posing difficulty for leaders is being too focused on what we are doing or what we want, a result of not getting our assumptions falsified. Bring in a critic for an outside perspective or so that you can take a break. In other words, give yourself space to be calm, rather than focused. This space will give you access to a larger part of your brain.
  4. Do not make decisions when you feel pressured. If you do, your brain will not work optimally and bias comes into play.
  5. Be aware of your feelings, because they also affect your decisions.
  6. How will you get there? Instead of thinking about where you want to go, think about how you will get there. This process considers more than goals when it comes to making high quality decisions.
  7. Double check yourself through worst-case scenarios. If you can get to the bottom of a bias, it will affect all other biases. For example, use worst-case scenarios to help paint a clearer picture.

Learn more

I give lectures, coach, counsel and teach. My vision is that organisations create long-term value, that all leaders have a clear mind and that you wake up every morning energised. Read more about me here.

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