Leaders with disabilities have instincts that inspire their teams and drive productivity
July 4, 2021
6 minutes to read
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When you have a disability, there are certain qualities that you develop in your day-to-day life. It can come from exhaustion from having to depend more on others or the frustration of navigating an unpredictable limitation. Some of these characteristics can be particularly beneficial as a business leader.
These four entrepreneurial instincts with disabilities inspire teams and boost productivity.
1. Maintain patience
When you live with a disability, you recognize that some tasks that may seem simple to someone else will actually take you longer or could easily go wrong. This may mean that you have to be diligent, such as calling the premises ahead of time to see if they have any accommodations, such as elevators. You may even need to get up very early each day to have enough time to prepare, which can quickly become tiring. These preparations naturally lead to becoming more patient.
As a disabled business leader, tolerance is a key factor in being an inspiring boss. When you understand that projects are taking longer than expected or that you are willing to extend deadlines when necessary, it is refreshing for employees. Your staff will feel encouraged to do their best because you have shown them confidence and empathy.
Being patient also boosts productivity. As a person with a disability, you have learned that being frustrated when your commute is late or you are unable to read something independently is more tiring than going with the flow. In business, when you communicate calmly with your team and are flexible, obstacles in the road don’t affect you as much. This creates a positive work environment where everyone will be motivated to perform their tasks to the best of their ability.
Related: Employing People With Disabilities May Solve Your Talent Crisis
2. Be resourceful
Analyzing the assets available to help with a limitation is a skill that is instinctive for you when you have a disability. In life, your disability may require expensive or hard to find resources. This can leave you frustrated, leading you to seek government funded help or hire a caregiver. Doing your research for help naturally makes you more alert and insightful about the help that is out there. When you run your own business with an illness, that ingenuity leads to efficiency. Your evaluation instinct kicks in when you think about how to spend your business budget or how best to use your time. This gives you full control over all elements of your organization, ensuring that tasks run smoothly.
Providing your employees with many tools, or just the awareness that resources can be made available, will also foster inspiration. People are energized when they know their work is important and that they are supported. This is why it is precious to be resourceful and encourage your employees to seek mentorship, resources or help to carry out projects.
Related: 6 Characteristics Of Resourceful People That Make Them Successful
3. Effective delegation
Using your natural instinct to ask for help or additional information in your daily life is how you can effectively assign responsibility. When you have a limitation you may be used to needing someone else to open doors or read a menu, and you never hesitate to ask. There will always be a gap between what you can do and what you struggle to do. Instinctively understanding that you need people on your team to fill these gaps will make projects or deals easier. You may need to find an accountant or web designer who understands your limits and who you can communicate your needs to. When you delegate tasks to team members who can complete them faster, it inspires them because it shows that you have confidence in their abilities.
Maybe you’re taking more of a management role instead of constantly trying to do everything yourself. Giving off tasks with enthusiasm makes each member of your staff more efficient and allows everyone to shine in their own way. When you are more willing to rely on others, you create a productive environment where everyone contributes to the achievement of the company’s vision.
Related: The Art And Science Of Delegation (Infographic)
4. Skillful time management
Instinctively, as someone with an illness, you are a planner because you need to be on top of your medications, appointments, transportation, and more. Without preparing for the day or week ahead, you can feel overwhelmed and confused when things take longer or go wrong. Your disability forces you to organize your tasks and define your schedule. This organizational skill plays an important role in time management and the way you lead your team. When you are intentional with deadlines and give employees the freedom to work on their own, they will feel inspired by the synergy and trust between you. It also gives your staff the space to thrive while being grounded in a time frame.
Specifying the hours you will be available at the start of each week will improve your efficiency. It is generally easier for limited managers to do this, as they tend to plan ahead. Sharing your availability in advance also benefits your employees, as they can make sure they complete tasks or ask questions to align with your schedule. Organizing and detailing what you hope to accomplish each day will make you and your staff much more efficient.
When you take advantage of the instinctive qualities associated with disability, you can run your business in a way that motivates your team and creates productive results. Being patient when an employee needs extra time to complete a project demonstrates compassion, which will be remembered and appreciated. Resourcefulness is the key to using the tools available so that your business can grow. Effective delegation creates an environment where everyone feels needed and you can accomplish more. Skillful time management relieves the stress of feeling overwhelmed and inspires staff to do their best work.
While it may seem like having a limitation bothers you, you can use these natural talents and be a leader who enables your team to achieve measurable results.