COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
With the holiday season upon us, we are often reminded of the many different beliefs and traditions that exist among us, but this time of year is also about coming together.
Is there a better time to think about diversity and inclusion in the Air Force?
Inclusion is the ability to include differences in a friendly, flexible and fair way. This is important because inclusion practices in the workplace are positively correlated with employee satisfaction in the Air Force. The bottom line is the more employees are included, the better results and satisfaction the team will have.
A way to reach these levels of team success is through the new Inclusion Quotient created by U.S. Office of Personnel Management. The OPM has a great informational video online, but in case you don’t have 12 minutes to watch it, I’ll share some of the take-away lessons here.
The new IQ relies on the use of inclusion intelligence which is the intentional, deliberate, and proactive acts that increase work group intelligence by making people feel they belong and are uniquely valued.
In order to complete the new IQ there are two difficult habits that must be broken involving our unconscious biases. These biases shape our thoughts and actions without us knowing it. Two of the most common biases affecting the workplace are confirmation bias and like-me bias.
Confirmation bias is when one person places more value in what they want to believe and less emphasis on what they don’t want to believe. This makes you subjective with a lack of impartiality. To avoid confirmation bias, don’t just listen to those who constantly confirm your decision look for great information that may go against what you were initially thinking.
Like-me bias can be characterized by giving preferential treatment to those that belong in a group of yours or someone who is similar to you. This creates a habit of only wanting to work with people we already know. To avoid like-me bias, always include others and go out of your way to step out of your comfort zone and get to know different people. Just because people aren’t like you in how they look, where they’re from, or what they believe doesn’t mean you won’t be able to work with them.
Most of us know on an intellectual level excluding others at work is wrong, but most of us will do these things at some point without even realizing it. That is why it’s best to be aware of these potential biases so we can actively combat them and make use of all the varied backgrounds and ways of thinking within our Air Force team.