Challenging Your Perception of Leadership

Julie is now becoming renowned for her leadership expertise. A far cry from a few years, she felt lost on where to take her vision of leadership forward into the future. However, thanks to RADAR (Royal Association for Disability Rights) who have nurture Julie’s leadership expertise and thus Julie has now become the forefront of sharing her leadership experience and embedding her skills into many other areas.

Recently, Julie was asked to share her vision of leadership with the Wilderness Foundation UK who were keen to gets her opinions on ‘What Leadership means to her?’ and how she manages to unleash the potentials in other individuals and the projects she been involved to date. Julie believes there are key attributes required to be a good leader and they comprises of: confidence, vision, passion, motivation and organisation.

Julie also realizes as part of leadership it also comes with self-empowerment. This empowerment enables you to achieve or overcome difficulties as she says there are solutions to each one whether it may be making a change in tactics, different strategies to draw on. In order to fulfil your potential, you have to have the motivation, passion and the focus to succeed. She was beginning to handle a lot in a short space of time in her years of growing up and felt competent to share and inspire other i.e. putting her skills and life experiences into practice and embedding them into new situations. From there onwards, the empowerment to try new things and change people perception of someone like myself who has a disability thus in turn can be respected citizen, self responsibility and leader which come with confidence.

When working with people whether they are disabled or able bodies, learn to see what they can do rather than doing it for them or avoiding it. It naturally for people to focus on what disabled can’t do however, we need to adopt in a change in attitude on focusing on what disabled can do as I find there are things that I would like to do but it is looking at the picture/situation as a whole and implementing a strategy to coping and participating in mainstream activities.

More recently on one of her projects, she was involved in putting her judgement forward for the participants to be selected from the Disabilities Wilderness Project. We had a good response of applicants and it was interesting reading their desire to take part in the project. As one of the project’s leaders, you want to select people who are going gain skills that will give them the confidence to progress or use the experience to do other activities when they go home.  It is all about understanding other people’s strengths and weaknesses and what they will bring to the team.

Julie was the first disabled person to have secured the Sirius Environmental Leadership. In her application form, there were many highlights that secured her place and for Wilderness Foundation UK it was about meaningful inclusion knowing how to make this programme accessible for the like of Julie to fulfil her potential. Julie says ‘We need to reinforce participative approach as this will enables organisations like Wilderness Foundation UK to excel in confidence which will grow and in turn will allows them to improve inclusivity and diversity practices. The ending results will pays off!

Throughout the years, it has been motivation and more recently self leadership skills that had helped Julie possess the qualities of leadership.

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