Director/Chief Executive, Theatre Resource
What makes a good leader?
Without dwelling on all that leadership/management speak... I'd say that a leader is someone who should inspire!
Is leadership different for disabled people?
Yes, absolutely. There are many leadership techniques and strategies that disabled people simply cannot employ. Me for example, I can't do long hour, I can't 'burn the midnight all', I can't do stupidly tight deadlines (4 days to respond to a funding opportunity!). I can't shmoose and network during breaks (I actually need a break), I need advanced notice of long and complex telephone calls, I need time to plan and schedule things. But more than all this, in our society disability pushes someone down the social and power structure and this really impacts on our image and credibility. That's the hardest thing I have to deal with.
Do you think there are barriers to leadership for disabled people that non-disabled people don’t face?
Of course. Disabled people are often spoken over, spoken for, or completely excluded from decision making processes: Disabled people are more likely to be unemployed, less likely to have received formal education and training (at all levels) and are amongst the most economically inactive people in the country: The concept of the ‘glass ceiling’ for women and BME groups is recognised and widely accepted as unfair and unacceptable. But personally I feel that generally speaking there is no widespread acceptance that the ‘glass ceiling’ for disabled people is wrong. It's often considered enough for us simply to 'have a job' and we should be satisfied with that! Why would we want to or deserve to be leaders?
In short, we are less likely to become leaders, and when we do, we are less likely to be taken seriously!