The unique experience of developing disability leaders

Discoveries from the #FutureShapers include rolling heat experiences.

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Discoveries from the Future Shapers

By Christina Ryan, CEO, Disability Leadership Institute

 

Upon completion of the world’s first specialist disability leadership program, based on vertical leadership development, the Disability Leadership Institute has begun to understand some specific and remarkable facets of disability leadership which could rewrite mainstream approaches to leadership development and broaden the understanding of how post conventional thinking develops.

 

Leadership development, particularly vertical development, is based on generating what is known as “heat experiences”. That is, applying difficult challenges to the developing leader so that they grow self-awareness, question their existing boundaries and understandings, and adjust their view of themselves and the world to a new level.

 

Nick Petrie outlines how “the leader faces a complex situation that disrupts and disorients his habitual way of thinking. He discovers that his current way of making sense of the world is inadequate. His mind starts to open and search for new and better ways to make sense of his challenge.”[1]

 

Joseph Jaworski sent people on 3-day solo camping trips into the Rocky Mountains to test their sense making.[2] Most leadership programs use a variety of tools to create heat processes, including wilderness experiences, individual projects, prescribing challenging work, and confronting accepted norms. These tools work to provide developing leaders with challenges outside their previous experience and aim to spark their development by creating a heat experience. Many of these are based on an able (usually) white (usually) male understanding of what leadership is and what it should look like.

 

What is also understood is that the average person will not face heat experiences often in their lives. Rather, a heat experience is an unusual event often accompanied by a life changing process for the person. When undergoing traumatic heat experiences most people dip out of their regular lives for the duration, while being supported by those around them to be less engaged in the minutiae of day to day existence.

 

In developing the Future Shapers the Disability Leadership Institute (DLI) recognises it is working in uncharted waters. Amongst the myriad leadership development programs available today none have focused on interweaving the disability experience with leadership development. In fact, most seek to actively “overcome” it. The Future Shapers, therefore, creates exciting potential for discovery. With the first iteration of the program now completed, it becomes clear that it has also created some unexpected understandings.

 

Disability leadership is a new field where little academic study or experiential research exists. In assessing the landscape to determine what was out there and how it might be harnessed, the DLI discovered that there was little to work with.[3] No specific programs exist focusing on disability leadership. Those that do work with disability leaders adapt mainstream leadership programs, usually at an entry level, while focusing on horizontal leadership skills. The disability experience is not central to these programs, nor is it openly embraced as an asset that will contribute to leadership development.

 

The Future Shapers works differently. Program participants are assessed for suitability with an expectation that some background in social change and/or leadership already exists. Only disabled people are accepted into the Future Shapers. The program uses vertical leadership development to achieve post conventional thinking, while embracing the disability experience as a contributor to how that leader operates.

 

Recently the Future Shapers graduated its first cohort and some unexpected understandings about vertical leadership have emerged. Many of these understandings will require considerably more research over coming years as the field of disability leadership unfolds.

 

Where most programs consciously generate heat experiences, and recognise that this might be the first time a leader undergoing development has faced that level of personal challenge and introspection, the Disability Leadership Institute has come to understand that disability leaders entering vertical leadership development have already worked through heat experiences and are doing so continuously without realising it.

 

One particular outcome of the recent program is a more developed understanding of how heat experiences apply to disability leadership. It appears that disability leaders experience a “rolling” heat experience, which contributes markedly to their vertical leadership development. The DLI observed this in each participant in the Future Shapers program and has identified two distinct ways that it manifests: external pressures like prejudice, discrimination and marginalisation; alongside the random nature of the individual’s disability (due to factors like weather or other illness) which can suddenly sideswipe a person’s operational capacity and generate a need for heightened self-awareness in order to recover.

 

Both contribute to the individual’s development. Each person will have a different experience according to their levels of privilege, type of disability, and other factors; however, the two sources of heat experience were present in each person and resulted in a significant contribution to their vertical leadership development throughout the Future Shapers program.

 

All disability leaders face prejudice, discrimination and marginalisation as an aspect of their daily lives. The world isn’t yet built for disabled people. Every time a disabled person goes to work, attends a meeting, travels on public transport, or goes to a conference they face barriers. Fitting into a world that is built for abled people means that every interaction with the outside world has the potential to marginalise the disabled person. Disability leaders are engaged with the outside world every day, increasing their exposure to environments that aren’t quite right, including some that are very hostile, particularly when working in mainstream environments.

 

Most disability leaders consciously put the experience of marginalisation to one side to ensure they are able to continue with their work; however, this means many don’t openly identify as disabled, or they work to minimize their disability requirements, or they expend energy reserves battling to have the environment adjusted to be more inclusive.[4]

 

This inherently hostile world provides a rolling heat experience of marginalisation and exclusion that is simply a facet of disability leadership, because to be doing their leadership work disability leaders must engage with it. Maintaining operational capacity becomes an openly acknowledged exercise in self-management for disability leaders that is demanded of few other members of the community. While others might dip out for the duration of a challenging period in their lives, disability leaders continue their work and remain engaged.

 

It appears that this ever present pressure and uncertainty acts as a rolling heat experience which provides disability leaders with a perspective on self-awareness and compassion that mainstream leadership programs attempt to generate through external factors, but which was inherently present for the Future Shapers cohort.

 

The Disability Leadership Institute suggests that the ever present nature of these two forms of heat experience creates a rolling heat experience which seems to add a deeper level to leadership development than traditional mainstream leadership programs, particularly when using vertical leadership principles as they are more “whole of person” than skills based horizontal leadership development.

 

Another understanding arising from the Future Shapers program is the critical need for the program facilitator, or lead mentor, to be a disabled person. Just as vertical leadership development programs recognise that someone more developed than the student should be providing guidance, disability leadership development should be guided by a more developed disability leader as they will have the deep personal understanding of both the disability experience and the rolling nature of the heat experiences faced by disability leaders.

 

This is the beginning of a new field of inquiry. Disability leadership has not been recognised until recently, therefore little investigation or research has been undertaken in this area. No specialist programs have previously existed. Applying vertical leadership development to disability leaders is producing unexpected outcomes which suggest that a specialist approach to disability leadership is necessary, in order to most effectively support disability leaders through their vertical leadership development, and that those specialist programs must carry a strong understanding of the disability leadership experience.

 

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[1] Nick Petrie, The How-To of Vertical Leadership Development–Part 2, 30 Experts, 3 Conditions, and 15 Approaches (2015).

[2] Joseph Jaworski, Synchronicity The Inner Path to Leadership (2011).

[3] Christina Ryan, The Absence (2018).

[4] the impact of marginalisation is probably experienced by members of all minority groups, this area requires further research.

Future Shaping

We’re looking forward to what the future brings.

by Christina Ryan, CEO/Founder of the Disability Leadership Institute

 

Three years ago I had a 3 am moment. Violence is a direct outcome of inequality. The less equal people are, the more violence they experience. There is a wealth of data relating to gender based violence which has repeatedly said this, yet we haven’t had a similar conversation about disability and inequality.

 

To address the appalling levels of violence and marginalisation in the disability community we needed disabled people to be in the rooms making the decisions, allocating the budgets, influencing the public conversation. We needed disabled people to be seen as high calibre valued contributors in the public domain.

 

After 25 years of working to address violence against people with disabilities, I realised that we need to stop hacking away at the symptoms of inequality and tackle it head on. That means leadership. It means getting equal.

 

While I still do some violence related work, supporting my community and sharing my expertise, now I focus on sharing my leadership skills by coaching and developing leaders in our community. And there are plenty of them.

 

Curiously, there had never been an ongoing disability leadership development program in Australia. There had been several short-term pilots or specific entry level programs, but nothing to support disability leaders in our work or to provide ongoing development. Looking globally, the story is the same.

 

Those programs that did exist were developed and run by non-disabled people. Most focused at entry level leadership and targeted developing skills and getting employed. Its almost as if there was an assumption that there were no disabled people operating in leadership positions, or that there ever would be.

 

Certainly, there wasn’t a single internal disability leadership program or pathway in any of the corporate or government organisations that I spoke to as part of my Westpac Social Change Fellowship, despite them all having women specific programs, many working on Indigenous leadership development, and some having programs for culturally diverse people.

 

Fast forward to 2019. The Disability Leadership Institute is having our third birthday. Its an astonishing thing to realise that an early morning idea has become a reality for members in over 20 countries. That we’ve had around 50 people work through our coaching program and are about to start our second Future Shapers leadership program. We’re heading for the second National Awards for Disability Leadership and our first Disability Entrepreneurs Festival.

 

More importantly, we’ve put the term “disability leadership” on the map and now hear it referred to in the mainstream.

 

There is so much more to do. Recently I attended a forum where disability leadership was acknowledged as possible “to the best extent they can”. It was a timely reminder that there is still an incredible level of prejudice in the wider community about the ability of disabled people to “do” leadership and be seen as innovators and game changers.

 

We still have very very few disability leaders in appointed positions of leadership. Disability is rarely included in discussions on diversity. Many disability leaders face high levels of bullying and harassment. Continued practices of appointing on “merit” exclude highly qualified disabled people from positions on ASX boards, political appointments, and as senior bureaucrats.

 

Bizarrely, I am also regularly asked why we need specialist disability leadership development. Clearly the inability of the mainstream to achieve any outcomes in this area over several decades hasn’t been noticed. Absence translates to invisibility. Its easy to forget that disability leaders aren’t in the room when nobody ever mentions it, and very few see disability leadership as a thing.

 

We’ve started the change and look forward to what the future brings.

 

I’d like to thank everyone who has been a part of the Disability Leadership Institute in our first three years. Your enthusiasm, encouragement, and friendship have made this a really fun ride. We couldn’t have done it without you.

 

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Barriers to Disability Leadership

Should disability leaders give up their work?

by Christina Ryan, DLI CEO

 

What would you do if you turned up for work and you had to climb a 3-meter brick wall to get into the office? What about if everyone conducted team meetings in auslan, and you can’t speak auslan? How would you feel if you complained and nobody seemed to care?

 

Some colleagues of mine went to work the other day.

 

No big deal, hey. Lots of people go to work every day.

 

The difference is these colleagues are disability leaders. They are well respected in their various fields and regularly lead the public conversation about disability. They are some of the toughest people I know, not much gets in their way.

 

Except the other day.

 

The other day my colleagues had all registered to attend a conference. They were all attending this conference as part of their work. Some had travelled interstate.

 

None of them were able to fulfil their work obligations as expected because the conference was inaccessible. Very inaccessible.

 

I’m not going to name the organisers, or the leaders involved. There has been plenty of online discussion and media relating to the incident. What I am particularly annoyed by isn’t the inaccessibility, well actually that does annoy me, rather I’m very annoyed that a bunch of disability leaders went to work expecting to perform at their usual high standard, and they were unable to do so.

 

Most of them left. Those who stayed had a very difficult time. Several were adversely affected by staying and will need recovery time. All of the disability leaders involved were distressed by the situation and by how unexpected it was. Some said to me: “I just won’t go to conferences anymore”, or “perhaps I shouldn’t be doing this work”.

 

How is that the answer? Should disability leaders be giving up their work, or should conferences and workplaces be more committed to ensuring accessibility?

 

Newsflash: accessibility isn’t an extra or a nice thing to have, its mandatory if you want disabled people in the room. If you think diversity is of any value at all then accessibility is part of your regular processes, it’s just how you operate. You budget for it, make it happen, build it in from the outset. You choose venues that work, and make sure there are rapid responses to any issues that arise. You don’t argue and ablesplain and put the onus back onto the disability leader to get less disabled, you take responsibility for making accessibility happen and you fix it quickly when it doesn’t.

 

Most importantly, you make sure the people designing the access are those who know about access and have professional experience in accessibility. This means they will also be disabled people. These access experts should be paid for their work, just like your sound technicians and caterers.

 

This wasn’t an isolated incident. It happens every day, in all corners of the globe. This incident was quite high profile because of the people involved and that makes it unusual. Most incidents of inaccessibility happen to individuals, often in workplaces that aren’t supportive or have managers who think they know better, or they are single barriers affecting individuals at conferences rather than everyone, so we never hear about them.

 

This incident resulted in a formal apology delivered by the conference organisers during the final plenary. Unfortunately, most of the disability leaders affected weren’t there by then to hear it. The apology also didn’t include a commitment to recruit disabled people onto the organising committee in the future, nor did it include a reference to the same situation happening at the previous conference and this incident being a repeat.

 

There are still significant barriers to disability leadership. This is just one story.

 

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Not being disabled is a deal breaker

The new NDIS CEO must be a disabled person and they will be the best person for the job.

by Christina Ryan, DLI CEO

 

When the newly appointed CEO of the NDIS resigned after 18 months the call went out from disabled people for the new CEO to be one of us, a disabled person. Its time to stop with the experiments on our lives and start to give the NDIS the tools and space it needs to reach its potential.

 

As ever, there were those who simply assumed that there was no disabled person qualified to take on this role. They insisted that it wasn’t a deal breaker if the new CEO was not a person with disability. Clearly it can’t be given there is no such person available, well that’s what is assumed.

 

The new CEO of the NDIS must be a disabled person, and that person will certainly be the best person for the job.

 

Australia isn’t very good at employing people with disabilities. Its even worse at appointing people with disabilities to executive positions. This isn’t because there are no candidates, it’s because we are obsessed with appointing on “merit”.

 

The Male Champions of Change undertook research in 2016 which showed that appointing on merit results in one outcome: people who look like you do. Merit based appointments assume that there is a single path to seniority and that this path looks like the one that all predecessors took, including having certain qualifications, and the types of positions and industries required to get there.

 

While the Male Champions are concerned with gender equality and increasing the numbers of women in senior appointments, the same principles apply to other areas of diversity including disability. The merit trap, as the Male Champions call it, effectively locks people from diverse experiences out of positions, particularly executive positions.

 

It is time to redefine merit or to dispense with it altogether.

 

In the case of the NDIS, being disabled should be a primary selection criterion, a high value contributor to being appointed. This isn’t only about having a disability perspective, about understanding the experience of marginalisation, discrimination and oppression, although that is critically important. It is also about the symbolic importance of having “one of us” inside the NDIS at the very top, making key decisions about how the NDIS supports disabled people to live our lives, and providing the primary guidance for this major disability reform. Having a CEO with disability is fundamentally about being able to trust that the NDIS is working with us and for us.

 

Suggestions that appointing on merit also means that this person won’t be disabled, assumes that there are not disability leaders currently in CEO positions, or who have expertise and competence in shifting the culture of organisations. The presumption that no disability leader exists who will have a broader understanding of the lives of other disabled people is also erroneous, when there are many who are currently running organisations providing a broad array of services to disabled people, including services for those with cognitive and/or psychosocial disability. These are some of the most inclusive CEOs around and the NDIS would benefit enormously from their expertise.

 

The NDIS needs significant cultural reform so that it provides an holistic participant experience, rather than a wall of bureaucracy. The NDIS also needs significant internal reform so that it attracts and retains its staff, particularly those with disabilities. These reforms require someone who knows disability intimately, who is not only disabled but has experience as a leader, and who is trusted by the disability community to be competent for the task that is ahead.

 

This is not a job for someone from outside the disability community, who has confidence but no competence in working with disabled people (Deloitte Insight 2019). It must be a person who understands how to build systems that support disability engagement, rather than block it. Turning the NDIS around, to fulfil the vision that we all held for it, will require a level of competence that is yet to be applied in this position. As Kurt Fearnley recently said, “we tried the corporate route and it hasn’t worked.”

 

The next CEO of the NDIS can and should be a disabled person, because only a person with disability can do all these things.

 

Suggestions that it won’t be a deal breaker if the new NDIS CEO isn’t a disabled person are totally wrong and exhibit an attitude that is part of the continuing problem. Disabled people have been patient and hopeful, yet we have remained consistently marginalised by those who think they know best how the NDIS should work for us. Clearly, they don’t because the NDIS is a mess. Using it is difficult and highly bureaucratic. It has become what the Productivity Commission warned against: a bigger version of the old system rather than a new system that places control in the hands of the user.

 

NDIS staff turnover is very high and many disabled staff struggle to feel valued. The culture both inside and out is overbearing and judgmental about disability. The Agency has become more of a 1980s behemoth than a 21st century leader. There is a high level of disillusionment right across the disability community about whether the potential of the NDIS will ever be realised.

 

Doing more of the same will not work and will lead to a further erosion of the NDIS and the hope and vision that it should be providing for disabled Australians.

 

Time for the people who think they understand, and know best, to move out of the way and let the real experts in disability get on with making the NDIS what it could be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Is public life worth it?

Is this how to achieve diversity in our parliament?

By Christina Ryan – CEO, Disability Leadership Institute

There are very few disabled people in public life anywhere. Most of what is out there is confined to disability specific spaces like running Disabled People’s Organisations, being a high-profile activist, or being a Paralympian.

 

This absence of disability in the public domain means that the few individuals who are out there are literally putting themselves on the line being trailblazers, so that disabled people have the same opportunities as the rest of the community. It’s a high stakes business and requires huge levels of resilience.

 

Disabled people in the public domain risk being judged, are subjected to scepticism and doubt about their disability, queried about whether their disability is real or not, and are treated like they have no right to be doing what they are doing.

 

Australia is currently in the grip of a federal election. Once again there are very few candidates with disability, who openly identify as disabled, and who can wonder why when candidates are treated as fakers and rorters?

 

The situation is even worse for women candidates. Not only are they undermined because of their disability, but also because of their gender. The intersection of disability and gender creates a space where violence is a daily experience for many, and it appears political life is no exception.

 

The recent attempts to undermine Dickson candidate Ali France by using her disability to imply she is dishonest, or even that she isn’t really properly disabled, are a classic example of the bullying tactics used against disabled women.

 

Another classic tactic is to suggest that disabled women can’t hack it, that we are snowflakes who won’t be able to stay the distance, or who will crumble at the first tough decision we have to make. This is gaslighting. It implies that disabled women are feeble human beings who aren’t in public life because we’re not up for it.

 

Similar tactics were used against me the last time I engaged in politics: I stumbled across a group of campaign workers sharing rumours about how I wasn’t up for the job and wouldn’t be able to hack the pace. The candidate they were working for is still a member of parliament. Fortunately, my electorate was redistributed, and I haven’t had to call this person my local member for a number of years. I had forgotten this incident until last week and like to think the intervening decade has shown just how “not up for it” I’ve been.

 

Women with disabilities are at high risk when entering public life. It is not a matter of if, but when, bullying will be experienced. It is highly likely that a disabled woman will have her disability questioned, her integrity undermined, and her intelligence ridiculed.

 

She won’t just be attacked because she is a woman. She will be questioned because of her disability. Not only will everyone think they have a right to her personal disability details, they will then think they have a right to comment on how she lives with disability.

 

Worse still, it’s also necessary to have acquired your disability through “worthy” circumstances. A great deal of the rhetoric about Ali France last week implied that she shouldn’t be attacked because she had acquired her disability as a result of defending her child. What about if she’d been a foolish young person who had sustained a spinal cord injury because she didn’t look before jumping into a river? Would that make it okay to attack her?

 

The public domain is one of the most hostile work environments disabled people, particularly disabled women, can enter. Small wonder so few of us risk doing it.

 

Is this how to achieve diversity in our parliament?

 

 

Christina Ryan was the first woman who uses a wheelchair to run for any Australian parliament – running for the ACT Assembly in 2001.

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What would allies really do?

How do allies really support marginalised or intersectional communities?

Reflection on International Women’s Day 2019 by Christina Ryan, DLI CEO

 

Just coming down off that cloud which is International Women’s Day (IWD). Its one of my favourite days of the year (well it’s a whole week really), because it gets me in touch with the women’s community, with my business women’s networks, and with the mainstream in a way that my usual work doesn’t.

 

The other thing about IWD that I love is that it is about women. That might sound a bit strange, but in the disability community our international day is often spent celebrating the contributions of allies, rather than focussing specifically on disabled people and our achievements. So, just talking women for IWD is a breath of fresh air that I don’t take for granted.

 

I’ve been preoccupied since this year’s IWD functions in considering what is an ally? How do real allies work to support marginalised / intersectional communities?

 

At one function this year I asked a panellist a question. I know this person, and we have enormous respect for each other, so it was possible to push the boundaries a bit. The talk had turned to intersectionality. This is one of my favourite areas of discussion and something I have a reputation for shifting ground on. This was known to the panellist who also loves talking intersectional feminism. We were both in clover to be able to have a conversation about intersectionality, even if half the room had no idea what we were talking about. Who cares?

 

Our panellist had shared the story of talking about intersectionality with a senior government figure. I noticed that they were both privileged white people talking intersectionality and asked if it had occurred to them during that conversation that they should bring more diversity into the room? Apparently not.

 

So, even though both people are allies and consciously working to address marginalisation and exclusion they didn’t reframe their conversation, or who they were talking with, to include people from the communities they were taking about.

 

I don’t know if the conversation happened on the sidelines of something and was very rushed, or whether it was a scheduled event in both their diaries, and they could then have controlled who was in the room. My consternation arose when it became clear that they hadn’t considered bringing anyone from a minority group into their conversation.

 

This conversation was between diversity allies. This panellist and the senior government figure are both passionate diversity advocates who understand that diversity is intersectional. Both also champion the rights of disabled women to be part of the solutions. Yet both aren’t practicing what they preach. I came away from the function not even sure that they noticed the absence of minority women as participants in their conversation.

 

How do we shift this?

 

How do we get intersectional people into that room to have that conversation about intersectionality, so that we aren’t leaving it up to those without lived experience?

 

I’ve been carrying the Diversish video around in my head the last month and it seems suddenly relevant. Everyone says intersectionality, disability inclusion, diversity is important, yet the privileged white people in positions of power and influence are not including diverse people in their conversations about how to change who has access to power and influence.

 

Is it possible to be an ally when that only equates to recognising your own privilege?

Shouldn’t those who recognise their privilege also step aside to ensure minority voices are the ones being heard?

Wouldn’t true allies step back and out of the way?

I’m looking forward to next International Women’s Day. Lets make it an intersectional one.

 

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Disability Leadership & Lateral Violence

Everyone in the disability community can take some responsibility to respond with respect and care.

What is it and how do we deal with it? 

This article is about something which can be a huge issue for people in the Disabled community – status anxiety and ‘tall poppy syndrome’. These issues relate to people attacking others or making uncharitable statements about people within the community who they perceive are somehow doing better than them.

The basis of this is often a combination of insecurity and also responding to the oppression that we face as Disabled people by attacking someone within the community rather than ‘fighting the power.’ Oppressed, intersectional groups often face this issue which is known as ‘lateral violence’, where anger at disadvantage and discrimination is turned inwards and results in jealousy and undermining others. Sadly our community is not immune from the issue. In fact I see it quite a lot.

I think a lot of people are not even aware this is an issue for them. A ‘lateral violence’ response is a broader social issue than one individual being snippy with a well-known person in their community.

Lateral violence essentially involves instead of fighting oppression, oppressed people turning their anger against others in their community and these others tend to be people who are perceived as somehow more successful. So not only is attacking other Disabled people because of their success really unhelpful on an individual level, it is also deferred anger which would be much better used to address issues in society and to fight ableism. Leadership in the community should help enable people to see beyond rivalry. In fact this is an area where everyone in the community can take some leadership and responsibility to respond with respect and care, not lateral violence.

This is not a criticism or attack on people who feel jealous. There is a lot driving that thinking and behaviour and it goes beyond individuals. Lateral violence, while very unhelpful, is an indicator of oppression of itself and happens across most communities that face disadvantage. So while placing blame is unhelpful,  it is important to be aware of what it looks like and some ways to address the issue.

I am an autistic advocate and these days I have quite a big profile. While the primary function of my profile is to get my message to an audience, I am sometimes criticised for being well-known. The idea that I am focussed only on making money is one criticism – evidenced through people complaining when I have a book published and promote it. I am a very honest and straightforward person and take words on face value so it has taken many years to work out that people saying ’Jeanette just wants to make money with their books’ is actually almost certainly being driven by jealousy rather than any high ideals of socialism! I meet people who are inexplicably rude to me and it takes me some time to work out that it is due to a ‘fame thing’ on their part rather than anything unethical or unpleasant that I may have done or said. I often get quizzed by people who seem to want me to say something ‘wrong’ or to disprove whatever I am saying. It’s exhausting!

I can guarantee that the people considered famous within the disability community and those in positions leadership have their own struggles and challenges which are not solved by media appearances or book deals or other accomplishments..

Some strategies include:

  • Being in a position of leadership can exacerbate this issue and lead others to criticise and blame. It is important to respond in a way that demonstrates leadership and not react in a personal, defensive way (although this can be hard)
  • See it for what it is. It usually has nothing to do with the person who is apparently ‘too successful’
  • Take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions
  • Use your position of leadership to help address this – call people on it if you can and demonstrate respect and inclusion in your own expression
  • Remember that many people have impostor syndrome. People may not see their own value but instead feel intimidated by the actions and the ‘success’ of others
  • Share information on lateral violence with others. If you can, be a champion of addressing and calling out lateral violence. If we all did that it would be much less of an issue.

Addressing status anxiety and lateral violence is essential if we want to make a better world. Just imagine if all that energy people spent being jealous and insecure was directed instead to addressing the bigger issues that Disabled people face. Our leaders play a key part in achieving that aim.

 

Guest blog by Yenn Purkis:

Yenn (formerly Jeanette) Purkis is an autistic and non-binary author, advocate and presenter. They are active in the Disabled community, have published six books, facilitated a women’s group since 2011 and given a large number of presentations, including one for TEDx Canberra. Yenn is also a Disability leadership Institute member.

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