Working with a boss with ADHD can present some interesting challenges. Symptoms of adult ADHD often include poor listening skills, poor organizational skills, and becoming easily distracted. Unfortunately, many times ADHD symptoms can derail one’s career.
What do you do, though, if it’s working with a boss with ADHD that presents problems? Perhaps, you see yourself as very organized, very task oriented, and efficient, and you just can’t understand your boss’s seemingly chaotic approach. Maybe, you just can’t deal with your boss’s disorder. How can you adjust to working with a boss with ADHD when your brain functions so differently?
In this post, we want to delve into the working relationship between a person and their supervisor. Let’s look at three tips for working with a boss with ADHD.
#1 See the Positives of Working with a Boss with ADHD
Sometimes when work relationships become dysfunctional we tend to have bitter feelings. When you have difficulty working with a boss with ADHD, you may think that your boss is unqualified for their position. You may start thinking that your strengths make you a better candidate.
While in some instances, this might be true. The reality, though, most likely is that your boss achieved their position because they have strengths that match their role. Before instantly discrediting their work, you should start with identifying their strengths.
More likely than not, your boss possesses some very useful strengths. This might be hard to see at first perhaps because you possess a negative view of ADHD. Additionally, your different skills and personality might make you want to always cast your boss in a bad light.
You shouldn’t though. To improve your relationship with your boss, you should see their ADHD in a positive light. To begin with, you may need help addressing ADHD stigma. Here at FastBraiin, we always seek to identify the strengths of ADHD adults.
ADHD should not be understood as a dysfunction but rather as a different wiring of the brain. Yes, this presents challenges, but it also presents tremendous opportunities.
Seeing the positives and strengths in your boss might be a first step towards achieving mutual understanding. In the long run, you might come to value working with a boss with ADHD.
#2 Recognize We All Have Weaknesses and Get to Know Your Bosses
You might feel that you perfectly understand the issues at work. They all originate from working with a boss with ADHD. Sounds about right?
In reality, hardly any problem occurs as the result of only one person’s weaknesses. Most work environments function as a team effort. Resultantly, the results or dysfunctions within that team are the product of everyone’s strengths and weaknesses, not just one person.
We all have weaknesses. That’s partly why, “what’s your greatest weakness” is such a popular interview question.
To improve your situation working with a boss with ADHD, you need to understand you have weaknesses of your own and you need to know your bosses. You need to understand why your boss behaves in a particular way and talk to them about how it impacts you. Identify the ADHD weaknesses shown in your boss and work with your boss to address them.
What you cannot do is to just identify the weaknesses and leave them at that. That course of action helps no one and actually makes you a barrier to change. Everyone can work on their weaknesses, including those with ADHD symptoms.
For instance, if you have issues with your boss not understanding or recognizing your point of view, perhaps your boss has a weakness with ADHD and empathy. Tell her your feelings and why you struggle with her reactions. Empathy can be built overtime. Help your boss build hers.
Through recognizing that everyone has weaknesses, you can identify with your boss’s struggles. Using this approach, over time, working with a boss with ADHD might not prove to be so challenging.
#3 Act as the Catalyst for Moving Forward
Many times when we face challenges, our first inclination is to just give up. However, you shouldn't let such feelings direct how you react to working with a boss with ADHD.
While you and your boss might have different strengths (and weaknesses), don’t let those differences destroy your team. Unfortunately, many work teams let differences slow their productivity to a halt. If you already find yourself in this position, don’t give up; you still have hope. You can find ways to fix your dysfunctional team.
The most ideal situation, though, would be fixing the problem before it turns to complete dysfunction. Instead of becoming bitter or passive aggressive towards your boss, you should act as a catalyst for greater teamwork.
You can do this best through open communication. If you find working with a boss with ADHD challenging, tell your boss why. He or she will value the feedback.
You can look at this as helping your boss to help you succeed. Talk to them about what things help you work at your best. More likely than not, they will value and act on your feedback.
Whatever you do, though, make sure you don’t become the stumbling block for moving forward. Don’t give up; every work situation can get better with work and patience. Take the initiative to improve your relationships at work.
Work towards better relationships by getting to know your coworkers and your boss on a personal level. Mutual understanding goes a long way towards improving work dynamics. By acting as a catalyst for moving forward, you may find working with a boss with ADHD isn’t so bad after all.
Turning Working with a Boss with ADHD into Success
Ultimately, you have a lot of control over how well your work team functions or does not function. Your boss might lead your team, but you function as a member of that team. Don’t let differences in how you and your boss’s brains are wired result in dysfunction.
To find success working with a boss with ADHD, focus on knowing his strengths and weaknesses and acting yourself as a catalyst for change. Your boss has ADHD, but now you have some tools where you can help. Build on these tools and continue working towards turning your work relationships into successes.