Able Details

In business, you may hear people use “able” in a few contexts. The first one is calling someone an able leader or an able speaker. This means that the person to which someone is referring excels at being a leader or speaker; their skill to do these things is great.

Another context in which you may hear “able” is if someone asks someone else if they are legally qualified to do something. For instance, an executive asks his lawyer if he can move money around in a certain way without getting into trouble with federal regulators.

The third usage of “able” is in the term “ableism.” Ableism is a kind of discrimination in which people favor able-bodied persons or those without perceived disabilities.

Example of Able

A group of office workers is planning the holiday party and looking for performance acts. They are debating bringing in a band, but because they share a floor in their building with other offices, they are unsure if that’s such a good idea. The last thing the holiday party group wants is a noise complaint from a different company’s employees that they’re too loud.

Instead of assuming it’s okay to bring in a band, a group representative speaks with the boss. She asks him if there are any noise ordinances in the city and if there are any policies against loud noises within the building. “Are we able to bring in a band?” A few phone calls later, and the boss concludes that they can bring in a live band.

Able vs. A.B.L.E.

When you view a business or communications scope, you may know a few acronyms for ABLE that you’d expect to read about first. However, “able” is not A.B.L.E. The first difference is the way these terms are presented on paper. An acronym will typically be in all capitalized letters or capital letters with periods separating the letter. Some of these abbreviations for A.B.L.E. include Adaptive Battery Life Extender and Activity Balance Line Operation.

Significance of Able

As mentioned before, one of the contexts able comes in is ableism. Ableism is incredibly damaging to a work environment and to the people who fall victim to it. This form of discrimination considers those with disabilities or perceived disabilities inferior to “able-bodied” persons. Able-bodied means strong, healthy, physically fit, etc. The reality is, just because someone may have a physical or intellectual disability doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of achieving major goals, leading a team, or deserving of recognition and quality of life.

Ableism is easy to slip into, even when you don’t realize it, because we’ve used ableist language so often in our history that it’s become normal. If you or your coworker find yourselves doing any of the following, this is ableist behavior, and you can correct it.

Examples of ableism include;

  • You think a person is faking their disability.
  • You talk down to your disabled coworker.
  • Assume you know how a disability affects someone.