About the Book

Leadership is a journey that begins with a decision to act. 

Along the way, the requisite tools and skills can be acquired, borrowed, or shared.  Although personal traits such as charisma and organization are useful to the exercise of leadership, they are not central.  Motivation or will is.  Families of people with disabilities often begin their leadership journey reluctantly, but they are propelled by their motivation to ensure a decent life for their loved ones. Similarly, people with disabilities themselves know that it is they who must act to ensure that their needs are met.

Why Not Lead? A Primer for Families of People with Disabilities and Their Allies is written as a personal guide for people motivated to bring about positive change but who want some guidance on their journey.  Why Not Lead? aims to call forth, prepare, and encourage people who find themselves in a position to exercise leadership because they are committed to a person or a cause that is important to them.

The book is based on the experiences of ordinary people who took on leadership roles because they were motivated to act.  It is written in an easily accessible and practical format, combining case studies, clarifying concepts, and exercises.

Having played leadership roles in the field of disabilities for over thirty-five years, the author, Deborah Reidy, has integrated her own experiences and insights with dozens of ideas drawn from the academic and professional leadership literature.    She addresses the title question “Why not lead?”  as if she were a personal coach working with each individual reading the book.

Benefits of Reading Why Not Lead:

  • Liberate yourself to exercise leadership whether you have a formal position or not
  • Produce the results you aspire to achieve
  • Improve your self-confidence as a leader
  • Be able to work collaboratively with others to leverage your strengths and minimize your weaknesses
  • Know what leaders actually do
  • Deal with conflict effectively and with less stress
  • Be able to use vision as a positive motivator for yourself and others
  • Increase your self-awareness so that you can communicate more effectively
  • Become more effective at dealing with emotionally charged interactions
  • Learn from mistakes and take missteps in stride
  • Use systems thinking to identify leverage points for change
  • And more!
Deborah Reidy offers a reliable guide to strengthening the motivation, understanding, voice, and practices necessary to effective action that serves people’s higher purposes. She skillfully brings her readers into the powerful conversations about leadership that currently engage growing numbers of thinkers concerned with a just and sustainable future, clearly describes their practical implications, and provides a series of well-designed exercises that encourage exploration and application.
— John O’Brien, advisor on developmental disability issues in the forefront of innovations in the disability field for many years and the author of numerous books and articles