Leadership skills are life skills

Leadership skills are life skills

Coming out of a conversation with a City Manager/Chief Administration Officer …



For example – here’s something another leader in the municipal government space shared with me:

“I certainly think I’m more deliberately thinking about any bias I have going into various situations. I try and find time to pause, stop and think and then move onto the decision. To be honest, it may be less about bias and just making more time for deliberative thought.”


This leader is discovering the balance between leadership skills and life skills in this specific example.


Let’s stick with unconscious bias.


According to Harvard Business Review, unconscious bias is a set of judgments and behaviours towards others we’re not aware of. A very high-level definition.


Managing unconscious bias isn’t something only leaders should do. It’s a responsibility every person has, because we all have some level of unconscious bias. The idea isn’t to condemn yourself, rather be aware of when bias shows up, reflect and correct your thinking.


In addition, being mindful of your unconscious bias allows you to be mindful of your thoughts in general. And who wouldn’t benefit from that. We ought to be mindful of our thoughts as much as possible.


When you’re in a leadership function that’s even more true. You have a greater responsibility to people, ensuring you’re equitable, ethical and appropriate.


And why is this important?


As a leader, you have a direct impact on your people and the decisions they make. You’re also a role model. By managing your unconscious bias and being aware of your thoughts and behaviours, you build connection. This leads to influence and leadership.


Here are three ways to help better manage unconscious bias:

  1. Listen more than you speak
  2. Slow down decision making
  3. Question possible stereotypes 

Here are three questions to ask yourself as you think deeper into unconscious bias:

  1. What needs to change in you to better manage unconscious bias?
  2. What are some ways to build awareness about unconscious bias on your team?
  3. What can your organization do to reduce unconscious bias? 

By being in control of your thoughts you become more mindful – a skill that will benefit you anywhere you go. By being more mindful of your unconscious bias, you become a more fair and equitable leader. Which is why, leadership skill are life skills, but with greater intention and focus. 




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