It is a commonly agreed upon notion that working with a colleague or employee with ADHD is not easy. While it is true, this view does not justly encapsulate the experience of working with an ADHD colleague. People with ADHD bring certain advantages to the work and workplace.

But first, it is important to understand what is meant by ADHD and how it manifests in a person. ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactive disorder. A person with ADHD tends to have a short attention span, is prone to fidgeting, can be impulsive and exhibits unusually high levels of energy.

The condition is not diagnosed until adulthood, and that is why people with ADHD go through difficult situations where they are misunderstood to be lazy, messy, irresponsible, and even disrespectful. It is important to understand that the characteristics brought about by ADHD in a person are not part of their character.

People with ADHD are impulsive. And that is why they can do better than others in high pressure situations where spontaneity is crucial. Their impetuous decision making leads to them being gutsy and daring. They are willing to take on adventurous and experimental tasks.
They tend to think outside the box and make excellent innovators. Their quick wittedness combined with their high energy culminates in them being hyper-focused and therefore superbly productive at tasks they find interesting. They also put in extra effort in their work, being acutely aware of the difficulties their condition brings. People with ADHD have a keen understanding of different people having particular needs. This understanding makes them compassionate and kind towards others.


The colleagues and management must be accommodating towards people with ADHD. Foremost, they must make an effort to understand what it means for a person to function with ADHD. Empathy can take one so far along the path of understanding; therefore, it is a good idea to directly ask your colleague with ADHD what they need. A private work space with minimum distractions can help them work more effectively. Managers can be mindful to assign them tasks that require independent input rather than extensive teamwork.

Being sensitive to the interests of an employee with ADHD, acknowledging their achievements, and checking in on their work can go a long way in motivating them; individualized leadership style, praising, and micromanagement can help workers with ADHD.

Their short attention span makes it difficult for them to meet deadlines. Managers can give them short deadlines, and give them frequent scheduled reminders to help them finish tasks on time. While it is kind to ask a person what they need, but being mindful of one’s privacy and dignity is cardinal. People with ADHD work better on their own, but some simple steps can be taken to help them integrate better in the workplace. A work-buddy or mentor can make office socialization unchallenged for them.

Avoiding any labels such as ‘lazy’ or ‘messy’ must be kept in mind too.Appreciating a person with ADHD for the benefits they bring to the workplace while interacting with them with a dignified compassion is important.


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