You and I claim that we are fair, impartial, and free from stereotypes and biases. Science and research shows it is impossible to be free from natural propensities that make all of us fall into what is called default thinking. A place we go as a consequence of our upbringing, cultures, and yes the way our brain works.
So the first thing about getting real is to understand that it is of human condition to be biased! There you have it! In order for us to function in a world that subjects us to a 11 million pieces of information at any time, we need to use filters such as: perceptions, interpretations, preference, and selective attention. These are called mental heuristics. The tricky part of this is that many times this process yields wrong or less than desirable outcomes. In my work of gender integration, this issue is pivotal. Unless we get to talk about the elephant in the room and develop some type of oversight to keep an attentive eye
where “the elephant” wants to go, we will lose this battle. There are great tools now you can use to “manage” this situation and help you and your team achieve optimal decisions. Take a look at Daniel Kahneman work, it’s fantastic. The most important step is for you to seek these tools!
My work helps both men and women understand, become aware, and develop an inner voice – dialogue that helps temper and “calm” the natural propensity to jump into generalities and perceptions that keep everyone stuck! This is the reason I wrote my book.
The second thing we want to do is for men and women, to reframe the way female attributes are described and many times devalued, as desirable, yet not a par with what the business world “needs”. Funny since collaboration, empathy, good listening skills, are attributes that come at the top of the list of what is described as core competencies
needed to navigate and succeed in the new global economy. So let’s start to praise these characteristics and talk about them without hesitation. Let’s remember we are all in this together!
The third thing we need to do to get real is to understand that professional development programs need to be adapted to the gender nuances that help everyone debunk gender biases and stereotypes. This is what yields gender integration. The so called “universal” principles of leadership have to be experienced and articulated with a voice of authenticity and credibility. I get to witness those transformative moments, when people get real, when they become aware and experience their own
AH-HA moment! Priceless!