Director, Connect Culture
What makes a good leader?
A leader is different from a mentor or a manager. You follow a leader and that training allows you to grow and progress in your own way. A leader also has the ability to develop others into leaders so that there will not be a void when the person is gone but that others can continue the work.
Is leadership different for disabled people?
Yes, having an impairment should, although this is not universally true, help you to be more inclusive and flexible in your approach to solving challenges. It should open you up to thinking out of the box and be creative.
A disabled person, to be an effective leader, has to see him/her self in a capacity beyond their own experiences of exclusion and believe in involvement in society, in community, in the cultural, political, and spiritual spheres as well as in equal citizenship.
Are there barriers to leadership for disabled people that non disabled people don’t experience?
The biggest barrier is the attitudinal barrier posed by others, many of which would be patronizing and have low expectations. Non disabled people do not carry the discrimination baggage that others put on disabled people. Non disabled people do not get the assumption that a disabled leader got there as a token salve to equality, a bit like the token woman or the black representative. Non disabled people do not have the environmental barriers nor do they need to have extra organization to be able to work. Non disabled people do not have to battle with social services for care packages or Access to Work.