Managing an employee with ADHD can be rewarding provided time is taken to understand how ADHD impacts the employee and their job responsibilities. Working with the employee from a strengths based perspective, tasks and projects can be adapted to successfully improve their performance.
Just as each individual is different, each presentation of ADHD is also different in both symptoms and severity. One employee may struggle with perfectionism and time insensitivity while another may find planning and being prone to distraction as their biggest challenges. Over time as a manager observes patterns as to how the employee’s ADHD symptoms affect day to day performance, they can begin to implement systems to counteract those symptoms. Sometimes just assigning certain tasks to be completed at a specific time of day, when a symptom is at its lowest, can be enough to overcome the symptom completely.
While placing the employee in situations that lessen the severity of their symptoms, it is also important to assign tasks based on the employee’s demonstrated strengths. You may ask the employee to take a free strengths assessment such as the one provided by the VIA Character Institute. After completion of the assessment the Institute will deliver a ranking of 24 different character strengths. By focusing on the employee’s top seven to ten strengths when assigning tasks or assessing the best manner to deliver feedback can pay huge dividends.
It has been said that ADHD is a disease of “can’t”, not “won’t”. If possible work with the employee to set a schedule that works for them and their ADHD symptoms. While corporate policy may dictate “nine to five” hours, some ADHD employees do much better with a different schedule. The benefit of flexible scheduling pays off in a more present employee, allowing them to perform at their best. In turn the organization will reap the benefits of an employee with a higher morale and higher productivity.
As with most employees it takes time to understand how best a person works by identifying their unique skills, talents and insights that will strengthen the organization. With an ADHD employee a bit more attention may yield drastically better results.
You may be interested to learn about the benefits an employee with ADHD can bring to your organization. You can find an article listing those here.
Lipman, V. (2017) 2 Valuable Tips To Help Manage Employees With ADHD from Forbes Magazine. (May 2017). Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2017/05/19/2-valuable-tips-to-help-manage-employees-with-adhd/#5326c6c6ed67 on June 14, 2017.
In this article Victor Lipman, executive coach and author of The Type B Manager, explains 2 strategies that can help managers better manage an employee with ADHD. I found his Note to managers particularly noteworthy. He writes:
“Note to managers: Just because someone takes longer to get things done, doesn’t mean the work won’t be of high quality. One ADHD employee I managed in my own career was positively brilliant – no other word for it. He was enormously valuable to our company. Deadline accommodations sometimes had to be made, but they were invariably worth it.”
Walker, L (2017) How to Handle Invisible Disabilities in the Workplace from Media Planet. Retrieved from http://www.futureofpersonalhealth.com/prevention-and-treatment/how-to-handle-invisible-disabilities-in-the-workplace on June 14, 2017.
Lipman, V. (2012) How To Manage Employees With ADD/ADHD from Forbes Magazine. (OCT 2, 2012). Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/victorlipman/2012/10/02/how-to-manage-employees-with-addadhd/#1ba5f8854a15 on November 5, 2016.