As a manager, your job is to keep your business running by ensuring all of your employees are getting their jobs done right. When you’re working hard to motivate and maintain momentum, you might find that the same approach you use with some employees doesn’t help support your employees who have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD.
As a child and adult psychiatrist and the CEO and owner of an ADHD clinic, I’ve seen that employees with ADHD can be some of the best members to have on a team. In my experience, people with ADHD are often creative and energetic and might even “hyperfocus” on tasks that are of particular interest to them. To help them thrive, it could just take some changes to your typical management methods.
Working to better manage your employees who have ADHD could require a reevaluation of your management practices. The following six management practices will not only offer your employees with ADHD the chance to perform better at work, but they will also help benefit the company overall.
1. Ask them what would be most helpful.
Just as each of your employees is a unique individual who might respond better to one management approach over another, everyone with ADHD is different, too. One of the best things that you can do is to talk to them. They know themselves better than anyone else and can be extremely helpful in determining what types of management would help them best.
2. Create a suitable office environment.
Even a manager might not have complete control over the type of space employees work in, but there are some options you could consider. For employees with ADHD, office environment considerations can be particularly important, as the environment they have to work in can have a stronger influence than it might have on your other employees. For example, someone with ADHD might prefer an open-plan office, or they might do better away from distractions. One way to determine the right environment is to just offer your employee the option to find the space that works best for them, whether that means remote working or sitting in a quieter part of the office.
3. Offer flexible scheduling.
A typical 9-to-5 schedule can leave you with missed deadlines from your employees with ADHD if they struggle to stay focused throughout an eight-hour workday. This is why I recommend offering flexible scheduling, as this allows them to set their own schedules according to when they’re most productive. After all, no one knows better than your employee when they are able to work at their best and when it will be difficult for them to focus. By offering flexible scheduling, you can help them work more efficiently, because they will have the choice to commit to the times they are most focused.
4. Put instructions in writing.
You might find it frustrating if an employee with ADHD seems to miss details in the process of completing their work. But helping them remember even the smallest things can be as simple as writing it all down. Even for your employees without ADHD, it can be helpful to have something to refer to in order to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
5. Set clear deadlines.
Another challenge you might run into is that even when you provide all of the information needed for your employee to make the steady progress that’s needed for a project to be completed on time, they seem to only fall further behind. This might come down to the fact that those with ADHD often think of time differently than your other employees, a concept referred to as “time blindness.” They’re not procrastinating because they’re “lazy,” but because a deadline far in the future is just not on their minds. One way you can help them stay on track is by clearly setting short-term milestones they can work toward.
6. Make sure there’s feedback both ways.
In the end, creating a work environment that sets all of your employees up for success is a process — one that will take the participation of both management and employees. Both sides need to provide feedback on what’s working and what isn’t. With an open line of communication, your employees with ADHD will feel heard, and you’ll be able to ensure that management is going smoothly.
A Better Work Environment For Everyone
Small changes in the way you manage your employees can make a huge difference. Just implementing these six management practices will allow for not only better performance from your employees with ADHD, but also a more successful outcome for the team overall. Your employees with ADHD can be some of your biggest assets once the right management technique is achieved.