How to Counter Unconscious Biases | Boostalab

Whether you’re a woman working in a male-dominated field, an introvert within a group of extroverts, or a new hire in a team of people who’ve been working for 30 years in the company, you will stand out when you’re in an environment where you don’t fit the norm.

Even unintentionally, your colleagues may make derogatory comments, or make decisions that are detrimental to you. This results from their unconscious biases, which may be subtle. Still, even if their words and acts aren’t deliberately meant to harm, the result is the same: you feel judged, hurt, or discriminated against. We get it, and there are ways to counter these situations in your environment.

What can you do if you witness a derogatory comment from a colleague? How do you draw their attention to it without calling them sexist, racist or arrogant? Without making them feel overly uncomfortable? While preserving your relationship? Here are some steps that will help you prepare for this conversation, and act firmly yet diplomatically. This conversation is worth having, especially as the other person may be unaware of the detrimental impact of their remark.


  • You witness or receive a hurtful remark directed towards you or someone else, and you feel compelled to do something about it.
  • You feel that the other person would benefit from a different perspective to better gauge a situation and understand the impact of their words and actions.
  • You’re in a situation where you believe that the other person has no ill intentions, and you feel comfortable bringing it up. If this isn’t the case, you may want to speak to someone you trust instead, rather than facing a potentially harmful situation.


  • First, decide to speak up, instead of just ʺtaking it with a smileʺ.
  • Follow the steps and advice on the next page to find the way to have this daring conversation.


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