Training Direct Support Staff and Ladder Holders

Over the past few months I have not updated my blog but believe me I have been very busy behind the scenes and one of the areas that has taken a lot of my time is developing a program for direct support staff who work with people with disabilities. I am still quite amazed that I can hire a person who says, “yes I want to work with the disabled community so that I can make a difference…” and within four months they lose all enthusiasm and vigor.

Direct support staff are the ladder holders of the “Diffability” community.  What? What is a ladder holder? I’m very glad you asked… let me explain what I have learned from Dr. Chand, the author of “Who’s Holding Your ladder?”

Listen to Dr. Chand talk about the Two Types of Ladder Holders!!

Most of us are familiar with who moved the cheese, one minute management type books and dummy this and that. I am truly thankful for these powerful titles and authors and I am not saying anything negative about these titles. What I have discovered however is there is a really simple approach to leadership development that can make the simplest person understand where they are in reference to excellence in any organization.

It’s understanding the principle of the “Ladder Holder.” Who’s holding your ladder in your organization. For me it’s my Program managers, Coordinators and Direct Support Professionals. One of the issues connected to this thought is that many of the DSP staff I have come into contact with are not carrying themselves as Professionals in afield that merits a certification at all. Through conversations I have discovered how they say they are carrying themselves as part-time workers who “just do this or that.” With pride they say, “I do my job.” When I ask about the deeper mission of the work they do I get blank stares and confusion. So I ask the question again… “who are your ladder holders and do they know it?”  My goal for the next six months is to re-introduce them to the ladder. The Vision!

The second thing I am doing is, re-introducing them to the Visionary…  who’s on the ladder… and what are they doing on the ladder. Finally, I want to help them see themselves as ladder holders and then encourage with actions and support that will help them to be the best ladder holders in the industry.  Tall order for all of us!

Considering that I am a Ladder Holder too!


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