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Ten Tips for ADD Managers

Tips To Help Guide Managers With ADD Towards Success

by Jim Sobosan

A recent report in Mental Health America indicated that there are approximately nine million adults with ADHD, approximately 4.4 percent of the adult population in this country. That’s a whole bunch of folks who potentially struggle with a variety of difficulties that make productivity in the work place an uncertainty.

Now, what if some of those employees were in supervisory or management positions and were responsible for: critical outcomes, individual and team performances, meeting deadlines, and productivity? I am quite sure this is a reality that is experienced daily in the business world. I have coached managers, directors and vice presidents for over 18 years and quite often my services are requested to assist someone struggling with these issues.

Supervisors and managers living and working with ADHD will often struggle in a number of critical areas.

Some of them are:

• Difficulty meeting work deadlines, which may be a result of procrastination, difficulty prioritizing or poor organization.
• Lacks good listening skills, misses’ vital information during team meetings, which may be due to boredom or focusing in the wrong area.
• Ineffective communication up and down. Passing only pieces of ideas, information, agendas or plans upward to directors and down the path to subordinates. Has difficulty being direct, clear and concise.
• Inattention to details due to impulsivity (wants to move on to something more interesting or exciting) or boredom.
• Inconsistent follow through and follow up with team members. Has difficulty setting agendas, timetables, and expectations.
• Takes too long to get started on critical projects and/ or too long to complete projects, which may be due to poor time management and/or difficulty prioritizing.

Fortunately there are some basic tips that can help these supervisors and managers to be more efficient and productive.

First, it is always helpful for all parties to remember the strengths that these employees bring to work every day. Adults with ADHD possess many positive traits that companies and corporations can and do benefit from.

They are often:

• Creative,
• Energetic,
• Intelligent,
• Personable
• Enthusiastic

A recent report in Mental Health America indicated that there are approximately nine million adults with ADHD, approximately 4.4 percent of the adult population in this country. That’s a whole bunch of folks who potentially struggle with a variety of difficulties that make productivity in the work place an uncertainty.

Now, what if some of those employees were in supervisory or management positions and were responsible for: critical outcomes, individual and team performances, meeting deadlines, and productivity? I am quite sure this is a reality that is experienced daily in the business world. I have coached managers, directors and vice presidents for over 18 years and quite often my services are requested to assist someone struggling with these issues.

Supervisors and managers living and working with ADHD will often struggle in a number of critical areas.
Some of them are:
• Difficulty meeting work deadlines, which may be a result of procrastination, difficulty prioritizing or poor organization.
• Lacks good listening skills, misses’ vital information during team meetings, which may be due to boredom or focusing in the wrong area.
• Ineffective communication up and down. Passing only pieces of ideas, information, agendas or plans upward to directors and down the path to subordinates. Has difficulty being direct, clear and concise.
• Inattention to details due to impulsivity (wants to move on to something more interesting or exciting) or boredom.
• Inconsistent follow through and follow up with team members. Has difficulty setting agendas, timetables, and expectations.
• Takes too long to get started on critical projects and/ or too long to complete projects, which may be due to poor time management and/or difficulty prioritizing.

Fortunately there are some basic tips that can help these supervisors and managers to be more efficient and productive.

First, it is always helpful for all parties to remember the strengths that these employees bring to work every day. Adults with ADHD possess many positive traits that companies and corporations can and do benefit from.

They are often:

•Creative,
•Energetic,
•Intelligent,
•Personable
•Enthusiastic,
•Hard working and willing to tackle multiple projects.
•Highly focused on projects that are interesting and challenging.
•Out of the box thinkers

The following are some tips that can enhance their performance:

1. Be more proficient during meetings. Use a notepad to jot down themes of the meeting and critical words that are repeated during the meeting. Read them back after writing them down. Review the meeting with a peer to assure that you have the critical elements.

2. Whenever possible keep meetings short – 30 minutes reduces the risk of losing focus on critical agenda items. Ask for 5-10 minute breaks if meetings must go one hour or longer.

3. Break-up tedious tasks with more interesting or challenging work. Take short breaks to stimulate the thinking process: 5-10 minute walk, consult with a peer, do 50 jumping jacks, tell a joke to a co-worker. Honor the short break timeline or it will become another distraction.

4. Always, Always, Always keep the cell phone off when attending to a critical task. The same goes for the Internet as it relates to social media gaming, etc.

5. Be consistent in asking for and giving feedback about performances, reports or projects. Keep a list of whatever you are working on and when you expect to be finished. You can use a recording device or an app, but I find that writing it down makes a larger impact on memory. Know what is expected and how close your performance is matching the expectation.

6. Write down significant points that you need to address before entering a meeting. Write it, read it and say it out loud before going into a meeting.

7. Set timelines for task completion and share with supervisor. Check in with supervisor along the way to assure adherence to timeline.

8. Always have a structured plan to work from. Structure and plans are often viewed as the enemy of a professional with ADHD, but it is inevitably a substantial key to success. Create a daily plan of 2-5 important/time sensitive tasks the night before, or in the morning before you begin your workday and post this plan in an easily visible place on your desk. Whenever possible, address the most urgent priority first.

9. If a goal, expectation or timeline is significant enough to set, it is even more essential to keep. Use a scheduler to plan periodic reviews of the expectations you set with your staff or team and ask for updates.

10. Ask for Help when you are stuck, worried or unsure of your plan or performance.

It is often noted that many adults with ADD/ADHD are not ideally suited to perform in settings that are highly structured and routine and deadline oriented. I would suggest that it is possible to unearth a hidden gem with support, flexibility and out of the box thinking.

And as you know, gems are often rare and invaluabable.