Biases are the actions a human brain triggers to make quick judgments or assessments about people, situations, and scenarios. These are heavily impacted by one’s cultural background and previous experiences. Biases in the workplace are prevalent, whether conscious or unconscious. Both necessitate skills and understanding to counteract, primarily in leadership positions.

Leadership bias in the workplace refers to the deliberate or unintentional assumptions formed while hiring applicants, distributing responsibilities, and comparing two employees in one or the other ways. It influences both the professional and the personal lives of individuals.

Unfortunately, workplace leadership biases can lead to distorted assessments and promote stereotypes, causing more damage than good for organizations. Leaders must understand how biases affect the workplace, especially when hiring, because they might affect the success of the future team.

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Below are the most common leadership biases that break the team’s integrity and trust.

5 Most Common Types Of Leadership Bias In The Workplace

1. Affinity Bias or Similar-To-Me Bias

A leader will inevitably favor individuals who have similar experiences, interests, and perspectives. A typical human tendency is to feel more comfortable among people identical to us. Similar-to-me bias is becoming increasingly prevalent in the workplace and can severely impact workplace inclusion and diversity recruiting strategies.

2. Recency Or What Have You Done For Me Lately? Bias

A leader inclines to focus on the most recent period rather than the overall period being examined. This leadership bias is more likely to manifest itself when a significant quantity of data is processed. The recency bias is prevalent in the workplace, where leaders are overworked, and teams are big. Leaders frequently evaluate employee performance based on their most recent interaction with the employee.

3. Gender Bias

A bias of this kind is evident when a leader favors one gender over the others. This bias happens when a person unintentionally links specific preconceptions with various genders. The gender pay gap is sustained by gender biases, which negatively impact prospects for advancement and growth. Despite having similar qualifications and work experience, male applicants are preferred over female candidates is an example of gender leadership bias in the workplace.

According to a report by Williams Institute, employment discrimination and harassment against LGBT individuals have been identified in several sources and proven to have a detrimental impact on employees’ health and well-being and decrease job commitment and job satisfaction.

4. Overconfidence bias

A leader’s habit is to believe they are best at specific skills and competencies. Another enduring aspect of human psychology is that we have more subjective confidence in our judgments than an objective evaluation would support. We also tend to exaggerate our performance in comparison to others. As a result of misleading evaluations brought on by such biases, a leader may make decisions that are not in the best interest of the entire team.

5. Confirmation bias

Leaders seek out or interpret new information in ways that reinforce their pre-existing beliefs. In other words, cherry-picking information to substantiate specific views. This prevalent leadership bias in the workplace makes it simpler for leaders to trust individuals and information that coincide with their values and beliefs and more challenging to trust those who do not. Eventually, this might lead to unfair interpretations of information and neglecting information with conflicting perspectives.

This list of workplace leadership biases is far from complete. Leaders who fixate on what have you done for me lately and affinity bias become side-tracked by the worse. They refuse to abandon a plan or strategy that isn’t working and are frequently motivated by bias rather than facts and evidence.


Are you the type of leader that makes employees upset because of how you lead? Or do you have any leaders in your organization prone to leadership bias?

Now that you are aware of a few types of leadership bias, you can begin to put processes in place to avoid bias, making work a happy place.

Do you need help in avenging your leadership challenges? Get in touch with our leadership and development experts to overcome leadership bias in the workplace.

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