Why does cultivating Common Ground help reduce bias?

By definition, biases thrive when we focus on the fact that an individual is a member of a group different from our own (Gay versus straight; men versus women; old versus young). That’s because, when we focus on difference, we’re in danger of becoming preoccupied with the characteristic – the bias – we associate with that difference.

What would happen, though, if we minimize our focus on difference – the very thing that gives the bias its reason for being – and focus more on what we have in common? The answer is, the bias would be starved for fuel and begin to fade.

Of course, just to be clear, it is imperative that we don’t let identifying what we have in common distract us from valuing differences – we need them both if we are to create and sustain inclusive workplaces.

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