It takes mental effort to identify our own bias.

Few months ago, I was putting together a presentation about Coaching and Leadership. I wanted to have one slide to stimulate some discussion, and I wanted to ask people in the audience to describe leadership with one single word.

Along with the question, the slide was supposed to feature a collage of known leaders. To my dismay, I quickly realised I was victim to bias. The first few names that came to mind were (in order) Steve Job, Mark Zuckerberg, Barack Obama and Jack Welch. All male. All American.

I could have certainly stuck with those, and probably nobody would have complained. Yet, as I knew by then I was biased, I forced myself to do a better research (both in my memory and on the Internet), and eventually came up with the following collage.


It was great to do that. Not only because I had a far better depiction of what a leader is and might be, but also because I had the chance to identify bias at work. At least, a certain type of bias. Perhaps next time, this list will come more naturally. And perhaps, I will be able to identify similar bias in other situations more easily.

By the way, in case you are wondering who some of the leaders in the collage are, here is the full list (from top left).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s