Disability-Inclusive Leadership: Why it Matters

Leadership
December 21, 2020
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Disability-inclusive leadership is vital for any business to reach its full potential. Diversity in the workplace is crucial to creating the strongest possible team that will best serve your business. Disability inclusion in the workplace can have meaningful positive repercussions outside of the workplace as well.

Creating a More Inclusive World

For many adults, their primary interactions with others take place at work. This means that the workplace often has the biggest impact on how people develop their interpersonal skills. Influences from the workplace are a large factor in how people continue to learn to communicate and interact with others. A workplace that consists of only straight, white, fully-abled, Christian men is not going to foster much personal growth for employees.

Employees who spend their days in this type of work environment are not likely to learn the skills they need to have the most positive interactions possible with people who are not straight, white, fully-abled, Christian men. Even people who grew up in a more diverse environment are liable to lose some of the social skills they once had when they no longer interact with people who are different from them.

Having leadership in the workplace that fosters a diverse and inclusive environment can positively impact the world beyond your business. Your employees are more likely to understand the different strengths of others, as well as the challenges they might face.

Your employees will be more likely to look past outward broad groupings like gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, and physical or mental impairment. They will be much more likely to see the individual underneath those broad characteristics and see the ways in which they are the same rather than focusing on the differences.

Disability inclusion also helps the world at large in that it brings a large part of the available workforce into the working world. The majority of people with disabilities want to work. Yet in 2018, only 33 percent of Americans with disabilities considered to be working-age were employed, versus a 77 percent employment rate for those without a disability.

Helping Your Business to Be the Best It Can Be

Disability inclusion is just as important as any other type of workplace inclusion. It is not only vital from a social justice perspective but a business perspective as well. Most workplaces have some level of disability inclusion, whether they are aware of it or not, as one in four adults suffers from some form of disability. People with disabilities can bring a unique perspective to how you do business, which could greatly improve your operation.

Stagnation is one of the great threats to most businesses. Most businesses have to follow a model of adapt or die. One of the best ways to make sure you stay out in front of the competition is to have a diverse team that can bring ideas that are relevant to your entire potential customer base.

A recent study found that businesses were able to achieve a cash flow 2.3 times higher than that of their competitors if they were fully inclusive and valued diversity in their team.

The inclusion of different groups into the workplace and especially into innovation and leadership roles has greatly changed the world in which we live.

The inventor of the bra was a woman. Before that, it was all corsets for hundreds of years. After corsets being designed by men for generations, it took a woman with a woman’s body to think of a better alternative. You can feel pretty confident that without the input of women, even if a man did eventually come up with a bra, they would still be nearly as uncomfortable today as the corsets that preceded them.

It tends to be very difficult to design an ideal product when the designer is not part of the intended audience for the product. Women entering the workforce drastically changed the design and performance of hundreds of products. Outsiders simply have too much difficulty putting themselves in the shoes of others to consistently deliver quality products.

Even before women entered the workplace, most of the innovations to products that positively affected their lives came from men who had a lot of exposure to women. Men who grow up in a household with many sisters or are married with daughters are a lot more likely to have an understanding of the needs of a woman than men who have little exposure to the opposite sex.

Because of the benefits of exposure, not only are you more likely to get good ideas for a quality product for women if that product is designed by women, but you are also more likely to get a good design from a man in that workplace. With exposure to a lot of women in the workplace, a man will be more likely to understand what women are looking for from the product.

Gender-inclusive leadership has had an immensely positive impact on our world. The same is true of all other types of inclusion, including disability inclusion.  Having diversity in the workplace not only elevates your business by bringing in a wide assortment of perspectives, but it also raises the level of every employee you have. They are all able to broaden their perspectives and see things from a more inclusive standpoint.

We Have a Long Ways to Go

While more and more companies are embracing disability-inclusive work environments, we still have a long ways to go as a society. Education is the best way to change the world. The more that leaders of businesses educate themselves about the benefits of disability inclusion, the more likely they are to implement inclusion in their business.

While continuing to attempt to show leaders how their business can benefit from disability inclusion, many people with disabilities will remain unemployed as they wait for the world to change. Those who suffer from a birth injury will likely face medical costs associated with their injury for their entire life. Fortunately, birth injury compensation can offer support to caregivers.

If your child was harmed as the result of a birth injury, talk to a qualified birth injury lawyer to get the compensation that you deserve.

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