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Unconscious bias training: Why it’s important and how to do it


Unconscious bias training, to be effective, cannot take place in isolation from a genuine desire to expand our potential as people. Once we recognise that we are accountable for our destiny after a certain age and stage of maturity, we will really be ready to take this important step in our development. 

As such, not everyone will benefit from unconscious bias awareness training equally. In any organisation, there will be front-runners. Plus, it is important as with any transformation intervention, to have leaders and champions in an area of targeted performance improvement. These are the people who will share their journey openly with others and encourage them to expose themselves to new insights. 

Unconscious bias training will never have the right impact on people until they appreciate that in truth, uncovering one’s automatic preferences and historically created perceptions and views creates a new opportunity for them. They need to come to an understanding that diversity training unconscious bias gives them a fresh opportunity to define themselves as adults in the mould of their own unique choice. 

Knowing oneself inside out

Unconscious bias awareness training, therefore, has nothing to do with stopping people from doing, thinking, or saying certain things, etc. essentially. Beyond any ethical evaluation of right and wrong stands the absolute need to develop one’s own intrapersonal skills as a precursor to deciding if we ourselves want to change for our own good reasons. Intrapersonal growth acts as a springboard to more enlightened thinking about not only unconscious bias issues but many aspects of how we conduct our interpersonal relationships and exist in the world. 

Unconscious bias training will deal with the specifics of this phenomenon. However, to be beneficial, it must go beyond sharing the facts of unconscious bias only. It must deal with what is really at stake in terms of how to move forward as a fully functional accountable adult. The spectrum of learning spans self-regard where one has the ability to look at and consider oneself as a detached observer as well as the fundamental need to accept and respect oneself. 

Acceptance of the negative impact of unconscious bias is part of this examination. However, out of this also flows understanding about how to better harness our innate orientation and abilities and exercise better control. It is always essential to be realistic about both our constructive and detrimental aspects, as well as limitations and possibilities. 

Woven into unconscious bias training are the benefits of becoming independent unique individuals. We will strive to become increasingly truly more self-directed by suspending automatic decisions and judgments when we recognise red flags. 

When we come to terms with the functioning of unconscious bias, we can work towards freeing ourselves from our past by making critical decisions about how to manage and reframe our terms of reference where necessary. We begin to formulate strategies to provide us with the most reliable information and the chance of reflecting and considering before simply responding. 

Nothing worthwhile comes easy


When we have spent a considerable amount of time practising new ways to deal with unconscious bias, after unconscious bias awareness training, we will increasingly see our ability to self-actualise in our preferred direction. Unconscious bias training is just the start of a very challenging journey which we should acknowledge upfront. This will allow us to make the necessary commitment to consciously return to reviewing our progress regularly as well as refresh on the key aspects of unconscious bias pitfalls to be mindful of. 

When we want to develop our intrapersonal essence, maximum flexibility, adaptability, problem-solving, and reality testing are important to us. Unconscious bias training gives us a new vision of opportunities in these areas. With the insights gained, we should achieve greater impulse control. This should lead to the real prospect that our interpersonal relationships and decisions will become increasingly optimal. 

Ultimately, unconscious bias awareness training will empower us with greater empathy as well as ensure we respectfully contribute constructively within social settings. It becomes a worthwhile endeavour as we become more in touch with others by being more in touch with ourselves.


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