'Similar-to-Me' Effect Damaging Many Businesses, New Find the Edge Article Says

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Ignoring the effects of subconscious biases when recruiting for leadership teams can have far-reaching negative effects, Jill Flint-Taylor argues in an article uploaded to Find the Edge today.

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It’s by no means an exaggeration to say you’re always at risk of gravitating towards the person who is most like you in one way or another when choosing someone to join your leadership team.

The effects of hidden natural biases during the recruitment process means many leadership teams are too similar to be truly effective, business psychologist, Dr Jill Flint-Taylor, has said.

Dr Flint-Taylor blames what is recognised as the 'similar-to-me' effect for creating homogeny in management teams. The effect sees recruiters favour people like themselves when deciding who to promote and employ.

While this is not always a negative, in many circumstances it can cause companies problems.

She said: "Quite simply, everyone has a natural tendency to like people who share their interests, values, experiences and social background."

"It’s by no means an exaggeration to say you’re always at risk of gravitating towards the person who is most like you in one way or another when choosing someone to join your leadership team."

Having too many similar individuals in management teams can be problematic if everyone has the same skill set, or if it eradicates the positive disagreements that are conducive to innovation.

Dr Flint-Taylor believes it may be possible to explain the 'similar-to-me' phenomenon in evolutionary terms.

She said: "Humans instinctively use a small number of obvious clues to make quick judgements about other people on a constant basis.

"The problem comes if you rely on these snap judgements, even when you have plenty of opportunities to find out more and make a fully informed decision.

"As we all know, first impressions can provide some important and enduring insights, but the reality is always much more complex."

The full article, which includes advice on how to identify and overcome this problem, can be read here: http://www.findtheedge.co.uk/leadership/management-tips/building-a-strong-leadership-team-are-you-missing-a-trick.

Dr Jill Flint-Taylor has worked with a variety of business leaders and companies to improve their results using her extensive knowledge of how humans think and behave in the work place. More about her can be found here: http://www.findtheedge.co.uk/expert-panelist/jill-flint-taylor.

Kenny Goodman, founder of Find the Edge said: "These subconscious biases are fascinating. We're all drawn to people like ourselves, but we rarely think about the damage this could be doing to our businesses."

Find the Edge is a business website that features news, advice and insight. Written, video and audio content is uploaded on a daily basis covering a range of different topics.

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Kenny Goodman
Find the Edge
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