4.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

‘A little consideration, a little thought for others, makes all the difference.’

Winnie-the-Pooh

After one particular VP leadership event at a global bank, I got talking to one of the delegates. The conversation turned to disability and perceptions about disability both in general and within their business. Both of us could recall occasions where prejudice towards an individual meant that a firm missed out on the opportunity to employ a genuinely talented person, simply because of misguided beliefs about the impact of disability.

This led us to a further discussion about what constituted a disability within a commercial setting. I have always believed that disability should be viewed in the context of the task at hand. Agreeing with this view the VP suggested that, in the context of their business, a lack of empathy was a significant disability. Being an effective performer in a banking environment has a lot to do with the ability to build relationships. It was essential, that leaders were able to connect with other people and understand and appreciate them as individuals. And this is true for most business, not just in terms of the relationships with clients but also co-workers.

Unfortunately, in this particular business, for whatever reason, people that were technically good at their job but lacked this critical leadership quality were sometimes still promoted to leadership positions. And this is a common issue in organizations. Especially, for example, ...

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