Overcome bias and get results for your biz

Bias in business: how to overcome the top 12

In today’s diverse workplace, it is essential to recognize and address different forms of bias that can occur. “Bias definition” is a common search phrase, as employees seek to improve their understanding of what they can do differently. From confirmation bias to hindsight bias, The Biz Dojo has you covered with our top 13 biases found in business.

The best way to address a bias? Learn what it is, spot it, and take action. So, to help you on that journey – here is the list of the top 13 biases you may come across in the workplace.

Top 13 Bias in business

Confirmation Bias

With this bias, we tend to seek out information that confirms our pre-existing beliefs and ignore information that challenges them. To overcome this, it is important to stay open to different viewpoints and actively seek out diverse perspectives.

Implicit Bias

This is unconscious bias that affects the process of how we make decisions. To overcome this, we must become aware of our biases and challenge them through deliberate action.

Halo Effect

In this bias, we form an overall impression of an individual based on one positive characteristic. To overcome this, it is important to evaluate individuals based on a variety of criteria rather than relying on one aspect.

Horns Effect

This is the opposite of the halo effect, where one negative characteristic clouds our overall perception of an individual. To overcome this, it is important to evaluate individuals based on multiple criteria and not let one negative trait overshadow their other qualities.

Affinity Bias

It is natural for us to want to favor individuals who are similar to ourselves. But, that also means we’re often surrounded by those who don’t challenge our way of thinking. It prevents us from exploring new ways of thinking, and ultimately stunts our growth. To overcome this, it is important to actively seek out diversity in our workplaces. We must consider individuals based on their qualifications rather than their similarities to us.

Conformity Bias

This is the tendency to conform to group opinions rather than considering alternative viewpoints, even when they conflict with or own beliefs. This can often occur when we have the same groups of individuals working on a project. This often occurs in politics, where members go along with a particular idea simply because it is desired by the broader group. To overcome this, it is important to encourage diverse perspectives and challenge assumptions. It is important to speak up, this is especially true if your “gut instinct” is telling you something contrary to the group opinion. Explore that feeling with the group to ensure your own comfort level with the decision, and to help eliminate any groupthink biases.

Anchoring Bias

This is the tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information received when making decisions. This is often used in marketing, especially for high-ticket items. For example, if you’re thinking about buying a new car, the first price you see is your anchor point. The salesperson may then offer you a slightly lower price, and you will perceive it as a deal — even though it may be significantly higher than the true value of the vehicle. To overcome this, it is important to gather and evaluate multiple sources of information. So in this example, taking the time to shop around and compare prices is critical before that sales person gets to you.

Availability Bias

This is the tendency to rely on readily available information rather than seeking out more accurate or relevant data. This is another bias that has a great connection to marketing. When you think of facial tissue, you probably think “Kleenex”. In fact, you probably don’t even think “facial tissue”. There are likely brands out there you may be more interested in, but when you go to the store Kleenex is the first to mind. So, it’s what you buy. To overcome this, it is important to conduct thorough research and avoid making decisions based on assumptions.

Attribution Bias

This is the tendency to attribute qualities of others based on incomplete evidence. In business, one of the greatest examples of attribution bias is in the hiring process. In hiring, we often seek out credentials (i.e. University degree) because we are biased towards higher education. The skills and experience of the team member are often not even considered if a candidate doesn’t have that initial “qualification” for the role. So, we are biased even before the process begins, and as a result will often miss out on truly incredible candidates.

Recency Bias

This is the tendency to place too much weight on recent events or information when making decisions. To overcome recency bias, consider historical data and trends, and strive for consistency in decision-making.

Hindsight Bias

This is the tendency to believe that events were predictable and inevitable after they have occurred. To overcome hindsight bias, consider the information and circumstances that were available at the time of the decision. Focus on learning and improvement rather than blame.

The workplace should be a space where everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed, regardless of their background, race, gender, or any other factor. Unfortunately, unconscious biases can creep into the workplace, affecting decisions and hindering diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts.

Recognizing and addressing different forms of bias is essential for creating a diverse and inclusive workplace. By being aware of these biases and taking deliberate action to overcome them, we can create a workplace culture that values diversity and promotes equality. It is up to all of us to create an environment where everyone feels welcome, respected, and valued.

Lead On Laughter and the benefits of humour at work

Lead On Laughter: How to lead better, with massive tips

lots of laughs

As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine. But did you know that it is also a key ingredient in leadership? Laughter is a powerful tool. It can help create a better work environment, promote teamwork, and grow productivity. In this blog post in our leadership series, we will talk about the benefits of laughter in leadership.

Using humour to create a better spaces at work

Laughter in the workplace

As leaders, we all strive to create the best spaces we can in order to keep our teams happy, healthy, and able to do the work at hand. This is essential to ensure our team feels both at ease and motivated. Laughter helps to create a relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere that encourages both creativity and productivity. A workplace that lacks laughter can feel tense and stressful. This can negatively affect employees’ mental health and well-being. But, leaders who incorporate humor into their leadership style can create a positive work environment that drives employee satisfaction.

Productivity grows with laughter at work

Contrary to popular belief, laughter does not distract from productivity. In fact, it can enhance it.

A study conducted by Wharton School of Business​*​ found that when employees were exposed to humor in the workplace, they reported feeling more energized and productive. Additionally, a study by the University of Warwick​†​ found that happy employees are 12% more productive than unhappy employees.

Incorporating humor into the workplace doesn’t mean that the workplace is less professional or less productive. Humor can be used as a tool to relieve stress, which can add to a more productive and efficient workplace. Laughter can help employees feel more relaxed, which can lead to increased focus and creativity.

A tool for team culture

Laughter can also play a significant role in building a strong team culture. When teams laugh together, they build a shared sense of humor, which can lead to improved communication, collaboration, and team cohesion. A study by the Journal of Managerial Psychology​‡​ found that team building activities that involve humor can lead to increased trust and more positive relationships among team members.

Laughter can also help build a more positive work environment for you and your team. When employees are happy, they are more likely to enjoy coming to work, which can lead to more job satisfaction and reduced turnover. A study by the University of Pennsylvania​§​ found that positive emotions in the workplace were linked with lower turnover rates.

It isn’t just turnover either. There have been several studies that show teams with improved culture also drive a reduction in lost time and wages due to illness. When people feel better about their work space, they want to show up and be there. It becomes a positive experience to come to work every day, and they are much more likely to do just that.

Laughter and the brain

Laughter also has a positive effect on the brain. When we laugh, our brains release feel-good chemicals like endorphins, which can help reduce stress and improve mood. This can lead to increased creativity, better problem-solving abilities, and improved decision-making skills.

A study by the University of Maryland​¶​ found that humor activates the same parts of the brain as other pleasurable experiences like music and food. This suggests that laughter can have similar effects on the brain as other pleasurable experiences.

How to add humour to your style

As we’ve learned, humour can be a powerful tool. Even still, it’s one we often shy away from. One of the fears most leaders have when it comes to adding laughter at work is how to do it right. It’s not always easy to add it into your leadership style, and finding the best time, place and content can be tricky. And of course, let’s face it… not everyone is a comedian (and frankly, some who think they are… aren’t).

So then, how do we turn up the laughter? Research suggests that anyone can learn to be more humorous with practice and by following some guidelines.

Be authentic

Authenticity is crucial when it comes to humor. But you don’t have to be a stand-up comedian to make your team laugh. Of course, it’s essential to find your own style of humor that feels natural to you. Being true to yourself and your sense of humor will make your humor more effective.

Use appropriate humor

It’s important to use the right humor in the workplace. What’s funny to one person may not be funny to another, so it’s crucial to be aware of the sensitivities of your team. Research has shown that self-deprecating humor is generally well-received in the workplace and can even increase likability and credibility.

Timing is everything

Timing is everything when it comes to humor. You don’t want to interrupt a serious meeting with a joke, but a well-placed quip can help diffuse tension and create a more relaxed space for all. Research has shown that humor is best when used to relieve stress, so look for those chances to use humor in stressful or high-pressure moments.

Practice, practice, practice

Like any skill, humor takes practice. Watch comedians or funny shows, and try to incorporate what you learn into your own humor. Keep a record of jokes that have worked in the past and use them when appropriate. The more you practice, the more comfortable you’ll become with using humor in the workplace.

Putting it all together

Laughter is an essential ingredient in leadership. It can help to create a positive workplace, drive team culture, grow productivity, and improve comms. Leaders who add humor into their style help to create more welcoming space for their teams. They see an improvements in creativity, psychological safety, wellness, and more. So, the next time you’re in a meeting or leading a team, try to add some light humor to the mix. Your team will thank you for it!

  1. ​*​
    Wharton School of Business study: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/256015603_Getting_a_Laugh_Productivity_Humor_and_Newspaper_Cartoons
  2. ​†​
    University of Warwick study: https://warwick.ac.uk/newsandevents/pressreleases/new_study_shows/
  3. ​‡​
    Journal of Managerial Psychology study: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/JMP-07-2018-0291/full/html
  4. ​§​
    University of Pennsylvania study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263297/
  5. ​¶​
    University of Maryland study: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6123777/