A roadmap to inclusive leadership: disability allyship (key no9)

Denis Boudreau
11 min readNov 28, 2023
Diverse business team with a laptop, sitting at a table having a discussion, with one person standing behind them.

When it comes to inclusive leadership, every action, big or small, contributes to a more equitable and supportive environment. As we explore the 9th key in our 15-part series on inclusive leadership today, our focus shifts to yet another vital element: becoming an ally for disability.

Within this narrative, we reconnect with John, our friendly people manager whose stewardship transforms a mere group of individuals into a collective of allies, forging an environment where employees with disabilities not only feel valued and respected but can also thrive… And in the process, enhance the sense of belonging and acceptance of the entire workforce.

John regularly takes practical steps to build an inclusive environment where employees with disabilities feel valued. Small businesses need clever yet realistic marketing plans to reach their goals and stay financially sound, offering you, as leaders, a guide to follow in your professional world. As we get started, know that disability allyship isn’t just the responsibility of those in leadership positions; it’s a collective journey where each team member has a role to play. Being an ally means having everyone’s back, no matter the differences.

More than backing up your work buddies

So, what exactly is disability allyship? First, it’s not just about backing up your work buddies who have disabilities. Inclusivity takes more than just accommodating disabilities; true allyship means deeply understanding people’s challenges so we can support each other.

In essence, being an ally to people with disabilities is all about really getting what living with a disability involves and signifies. Beyond physical disabilities, allyship also recognizes and includes mental health issues, neurodiversity, and other less visible conditions. Getting a solid grasp of such expansive knowledge really boils down to one thing — learning is crucial.

Just as vital is the task of tackling and conquering those biases we aren’t even aware we hold. Good leaders foster spaces where everyone on the team can think about and question their own biases, to make sure they’re tackled head-on when they pop up. Does speaking to your disabled colleague make you…



Denis Boudreau

Helping leaders connect with the missing piece in their DEI efforts. Amazon BestSelling Author “The Inclusive Speaker". Speaker/Trainer/Coach. #neurodivergent