Explore the Categories
The first step in recognising our own biases, and therefore make more effective decisions is to establish where, as an individual, we lie on the consciousness and constructiveness axis – in other words, how self-aware we are, and how likely we are to be affected by unconscious bias.
Although the consciousness / constructiveness axis is a continuum, people usually fall into one of four general categories.
High consciousness and high constructiveness: individuals who have an awareness both of the self and external factors – which results in more constructive decision-making.
Low consciousness and high constructiveness: this characterises a less self-aware individual who appears competent in their decision-making, but comes across as mechanical and detached.
Low consciousness and low constructiveness: these individuals are generally unaware of their internal influences, and as such are not constructive in decision-making.
High consciousness and low constructiveness: this characterise a self-aware individual who chooses not to use their awareness constructively in decision-making.
By recognising, analysing and adapting personal values and beliefs, decision-makers can enhance their professionalism, particularly in relation to decisions about others. This is where Effective Personal and Professional Judgement (EPPJ) can be usefully deployed.
Improving personal performance
EPPJ can also be used to support individuals in using their personal biography, so they function effectively and help to develop ‘good’ teams/groups. In contrast, a team/group may benefit from having some members from the low consciousness/high constructiveness quadrant, as research shows that some individuals who, though essentially guarded about the information they shared, demonstrate an ability to remain on task.
Improving effectiveness in work situations
EPPJ can, for example, be used when considering team recruitment and membership, ensuring that teams are limited to one or two individuals in the low consciousness/low constructiveness quadrant, while recognising that teams and groups may benefit from these individuals to produce a challenge to those in the reflective and professional quadrants. Such a challenge would help the individuals concerned develop some personal and professional distance from their internal drivers. Such people need to cultivate the capacity to self-manage and be assisted by the Panel Chair to self-regulate.
In short, EPPJ is an important first step in helping people to be more empathetic, by the appropriate sharing of their experiences and selves.