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Leah Noel

Leah Noel

Young Vic - ITC Fast tracker

What makes a good leader?

A good leader is someone who is confident in their own ability and the ability of the group/people they are leading. They have great listening skills, able to motivate and be the source of inspiration. A leader needs to be trusted. This is a person who is able to include everyone they lead and identify the unique skills of each individual in the team and use those skills to build positive dynamics with the group. A good leader “walks the talk” and in doing so earns the right to have responsibility for others.

Is leadership different for disabled people?

I do believe having a disability/health issue changing how someone leads because I think they bring different qualities to leadership. This might be because of disability and past or present experiences, for example, as a wheelchair user I constantly have to be looking up at people which does not make me feel very authoritative, however if I ask a person if they could come to my level, whether that is sitting down or bending down then I feel more comfortable and that that person is now in my space. I think that someone who is passionate about the task in hand whatever that might be, can overcome theses challenges by planning different and unconventional ways of leading.

Do disabled people experience barriers to leadership that non disabled people don’t experience?

Yes, I do believe there are some barriers, this might be how a team or group makes judgment on someone with a disability and how it is perceived, in terms of what that team or group believes having a disability means. This situation can cause a disabled leader having to first educate their team, then proving that they can lead and being accepted by the team. For the team this may mean having to adapt conventional styles of being lead a non-disabled person to something that might be different. I also think that a disabled leader might have to earn the team's respect.