I bought a $750 camera and it taught me a valuable lesson in how I view the world.
Here’s what happened.
I took 3 pictures of a vase in our living room and all 3 pictures turned out different.
- The first picture was clear as day.
- The second picture was a bit blurry.
- The third one had weird lighting.
Here’s the deal. The flower vase was identical the entire time, but the camera lens was different, hence three different exposures.
What lens are you looking through when you see others? Does it make the other person look blurry or clear?
Here are four lenses that frequently distort our impression of others.
1. The Proximity Bias
The proximity bias incorrectly tells us physical distance matters. When we see through this lens, we tend to trust people more if they are closer to us physically than people who are farther away. We see this all the time when managers promote or value employees who are in the same office over other remote workers.
2. The Affinity Bias
We tend to gravitate towards people who are similar to us. The familiarity makes us comfortable and we’re naturally drawn towards them. The Affinity bias is not intentional. It’s just the way our brains are hardwired. We also tend to surround ourselves and promote people who resemble us.
3. The Halo Bias:
The halo effect is fascinating – We incorrectly assume if somebody is good at one thing, they might be good at other things too. Our brain overestimates their ability. A good example is someone who is technically proficient as an individual contributor but is promoted to a manager despite their ability or lack of prior management experience.
4. The Horn Bias:
The inverse of the halo is the horn bias. If our first impression of somebody is negative, then we are more likely to concentrate on only the negative aspects of their character. For instance, if someone makes a mistake early on in their career, we associate the person with that mistake for a long time. Due to this cognitive error, we inadvertently miss signs of their improvement and keep going back to the same mistake.
Here’s the takeaway – Instead of looking outward, might I suggest we start looking inward? We’re full of biases, some obvious, some not. However, the first step to improve our capability and to serve our teams starts with self-awareness of these unconscious biases so we can slowly chip away at them.
The best leaders I’ve met are far from perfect. However, what sets them apart is their ability to be introspective. They take pride in self-reflection and work on it daily. They view leadership as a craft to be practiced daily.
If you have any cool photography tips, please share. As you can tell, I need all the help I can get.