The Most Valuable Resource of a Leader Who Is Blind or Visually Impaired

White clock with words 'Time for Leadership' on its face.

Recently we acknowledged we already are leaders; leadership isn’t a position, but a quality. Leaders, remember, are ones who influence others.

So dear leader who is blind or visually impaired, I thought we should discuss your most valuable resource on the job. Is it your assistive technology that enables you to work efficiently and at least as quickly as your sighted peers? Is it grit, the predictor of workplace success which we previously highlighted? Is it your excellent social skills?

These hard and soft skills are extremely important, no doubt. However, I’d venture to say your most valuable resource (and my most valuable resource) is our time.

Allow me to explain.

Remember we discussed Margaret Heffermen’s findings, noting employment teams function best when focusing on group success (instead of individual success) and social connectedness?

Well, there is no social connectedness without giving others our time. In addition to accepting invitations to work-related social functions, we must invest even short bursts of our attention to our teams. Encourage others face-to-face instead of in emails, have discussions over the phone instead of over texts, intentionally greet others in the morning, be available to help or mentor others when they need assistance or are having a hard time, and sit down with others to intentionally touch base. In other words, form bonds with your time and attention.

Simon Sinek, who wrote Leaders Eat Last, describes surges of hormones our bodies receive while in stressful environments (cortisol) and while in safe, socially connected environments (oxytocin). Sinek writes about stressful work environments and the cortisol that enters our systems, rendering us rigid, less creative, less able to solve problems, etc. He also writes about employment teams who have leaders (at all levels) who create atmospheres of "we’ve got your back," "you matter," "you’re safe here," "we have your best interest in mind," and "you belong here;" in these environments, oxytocin surges in and employees are happy and productive.

Sinek states in his talk entitled, Why Leaders Eat Last, the job of leaders is to create a circle of belonging and safety for their employment teams. He states this is done by sacrificing of themselves for others.

And what is the most valuable "sacrificing" one can give others? Of course, Sinek and I agree, it’s our time and attention. Giving attention forms social bonds; social bonds form a circle of safety; a circle of safety is an environment which promotes oxytocin. It’s in that work environment where employees are happy and productive.

What a difference an involved, committed, and concerned leader can make.

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