The Unconscious Bias Reflection Map


The Reflection Map helps you and your team to make (unconscious) experiences, beliefs, desires, values, assumptions, and feelings in relation to a certain topic or challenge conscious.

It is especially valuable to use before getting started on a new project, or immersing yourselves in to a new area of work to deconstruct the mindset, emotions and habits that a team has in relation to it. Moreover, it creates a shared understanding of the task / topic / project by bringing transparency to the status quo from which the team looks at the task / topic, and how it approaches the new project. This will foster team alignment and allows for more constructive collective action.

Purpose of the exercise:

✅ To bring transparency to personal and collective thoughts, feelings and behaviours that unconsciously influence a task / topic / project;

✅ To create a shared understanding of a task / topic / project, and map out challenges and opportunities in relation to it;

✅ To foster team alignment.

✅ The Reflection Map transforms confusion into clarity when it comes to kickstarting a new task / topic / project;

✅ The Reflection Map prevents uncalculated decision-making and chaotic execution of the task / topic / project;

✅ The Reflection Map prevents unconscious cognitive bias and emotional bias to negatively influence a task / topic / project


Depending on the size of the group, allow small teams of 3-4 people to work together on filling out the entire Reflection Map. Then, come back into the whole group to share and compare the findings of each team.

Alternatively, you could stay together as a whole group whilst every individual completes the Reflection Map on his/her own – one quadrant at a time. In this case, let everyone individually work on the same quadrant and do a quick debrief after each quadrant.


Prepare one flip chart or one section on a digital whiteboard in which you draw / paste the Reflection Map for each small team to work on. If you work on it in a big group, use just one Reflection Map and make sure it’s big enough for all sticky notes to fit on it. In an in-person setting, ensure that enough post-it notes and pens are available.

All things considered, you’re ready to go!

The Unconscious Bias Reflection Map


Choose a topic / project you want to explore through the Reflection Map and write in in the centre of the template (e.g. Topic: Hybrid Leadership / Project: Gen Z Onboarding Process).

Then, start to think individually or in small teams about each of the first three quadrants and capture your findings on sticky notes. It does not matter which quadrant you start with (as long as all of you start with the same one) – just go with what feels right.

Lastly, turn your attention to the lower quadrant and consider what specifically you can do or try to resolve any cognitive or emotional distortions.

After you brainstormed ideas for each section, look at the results and reflect as a whole group on your findings, using the reflection questions below.


❓How do these findings resonate within you? What do you think and feel when you look at each of the quadrants? Is there one quadrant that evokes a particular thought or feeling in you?

Can you identify redundancies and duplicates in and across the quadrants? Can you build thematic clusters?

Are there more / less cards in one of the quadrants? What could that mean?

How do you personally think and feel if you look at the Reflection Map as a whole?

How does it feel to look at the results from a team perspective?

If you take on the view of a customer, a subject matter expert, or a child: What might they think, feel and say about the findings?


(Virtual) Whiteboard or Flipchart

Sticky Notes in different colours

Pens / Markers


30 minutes

If you want to explore unconscious bias with your team, please download the Unconscious Bias Reflection Map Template with additional description for free: