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How do you accommodate people with learning disabilities on your team?


SmartPulse — our weekly nonscientific reader poll in SmartBrief on Leadership — tracks feedback from over 240,000 business leaders. We run the poll question each week in our newsletter.

How do you accommodate people with learning disabilities on your team?​

  • I’ve never dealt with someone with a learning disability: 40%
  • I do all I can to accommodate their needs: 43%
  • I sometimes accommodate but business goals are more important: 8%
  • I don’t accommodate. If they can’t keep up, they need to find another role: 9%

Humanity over productivity. While many of you have never dealt with someone who has a learning disability, for those of you who have, almost 30% put business goals ahead of accommodations. Consider that position — a set of arbitrary business numbers is more important than accommodating the physical or mental disabilities of someone seeking gainful employment. Ask yourself how you’d feel if it was your child or sibling or parent who wasn’t being accommodated. What would you tell them if they felt left out or left behind because market share is more important than their role in society? I invite you to look at those with learning disabilities through a lens of helping them contribute with dignity. Help them belong. You may be surprised by how much their enthusiasm and other abilities contribute to your team.

Mike Figliuolo is managing director of thoughtLEADERS. Before launching his own company, he worked at McKinsey & Co., Capital One and Scotts Miracle-Gro. He is a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He’s the author of three leadership books: “One Piece of Paper,” “Lead Inside the Box” and “The Elegant Pitch.”

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