While ADHD may make it difficult for individuals to function well in a traditional classroom setting as children, it also makes them prime candidates for success in business settings.
We are finally seeing some positive strides in the way we handle mental health issues. They are less stigmatized, which is definitely a step in the right direction. Yet, it seems like there is a surge in the number of people who are diagnosed with one disorder or the other.
ADHD has been at the forefront of this development. The prevalence and incidence of ADHD are steadily on the rise over the last decade. Part of the reason is that more people are open to professional evaluation, so we hear about it more often. Parents have adopted a different stance on attention issues and consider ADHD as the possible cause more often. They are open to treatment options in order to improve their children’s academic studies.
Life with ADHD in Business Settings
ADHD is defined by its most noticeable trait: deficit of attention. But there’s so much more to it than that! ADHD gives you some real advantages that help you thrive in environments that others would be overwhelmed by.
Let’s make one thing clear first: there is no deficit of attention per se – if you don’t see the attention right now, it means it’s focused somewhere else. The “attention deficit” aspect of an ADHD label is misleading. While individuals with ADHD can sometimes be all over the map, once they set their eyes on the goal, they are more focused on reaching it than anybody else could be.
Attention Deficit and ADHD Leaders
The “attention deficit” aspect of ADHD is really defined as attention that is not necessarily focused on what is most important at any given time. Some consider it just a different way of looking at the world. However, many who have learned to make the most of their ADHD see it as a superpower. It is what allows the ADHD brain to make connections and conclusion others cannot.
Hyperactivity and ADHD Leaders
The “hyperactivity” aspect of ADHD is best defined as brain responsiveness. As in, an ADHD Leader’s brain is nearly hyperactive in response to both external and internal stimuli. It’s a must-have in business settings because you can move between tasks and handle more things at once much better than others. They may have an idea for a new product or service one minute and have it on the market in a matter of weeks.
Not Every Work Culture is Good for ADHD Leaders
People with ADHD will be extremely successful as leaders when placed in the right corporate culture. A corporate culture that is fast-paced and innovative makes a great fertile ground for ADHD Leadership. Often a start-up business is a great fit for ADHD Leaders.
Combined with their ability to make connections many others do not, that gives them incredible skills that can help drive their businesses, companies and sometimes even the entire world forward.
Hyperactivity and ADHD
It gives them incredible passion, drive, and energy that can be quite contagious. Many teams have done far more than they ever dreamed possible, simply by having a leader with ADHD. The leaders will thrive with a team that understands how they work and function and have intimate knowledge of the disadvantages that come with ADHD.
Your team is your safety net, they will offset your weaknesses and provide balance.
Leaders with ADHD are great at seeing the big picture but struggle to break things down into smaller sub-tasks. ADHD leaders can move quickly but struggle to plod through the mundane. In this way, using your ADHD to brainstorm and leave details to your team may be a winning combination.
This is where your team comes in. With the right people to balance your unique traits, you will apply your skills right where they are needed, while they will do things that might be too much for you. Even though everyone assumes our energy levels can’t be depleted, individuals with ADHD can also struggle with feeling overwhelmed. Trust in your team, they will help you!
Did you know that some of the world’s greatest business leaders have had ADHD?
Bill Gates, Walt Disney and IKEA founder and chairman Ingvar Kamprad have all been diagnosed with ADHD, and that aspect of their personality helped them achieve greatness in business.
4 Ways ADHD Leaders Are Better for Business
1. Excellent Intuition
Individuals with ADHD tend to notice even the most minute details, which they can process incredibly rapidly. This “assess and catalog all the details” trait is what plays a big role when deciding on future investments, business plans, and the direction the company will go in. While Sherlock Holmes was a fictional character, if he were real, he may very likely have been diagnosed with ADHD.
2. Brainstorming Excellence
There are few that are better at thinking outside the box than individuals with ADHD. In fact, individuals with ADHD may rarely ever recognize there is a box. This makes them quite adept at coming up with solutions others may not ever think of and leading their teams in directions no one else thought of.
3. Great Risk Takers
Because individuals with ADHD are capable of making lighting fast decisions, it makes them great on their feet. This allows them to take risks many others might not because they are capable of such speedy and rapid course correction. They are able to constantly, quickly and accurately assess the exact trajectory their decision has put them on and also make speedy and rapid adjustments as necessary. This ability tends to earn them a great deal of trust from their teams.
4. Energy Reserves
Individuals with ADHD are often passionate individuals with a seemingly endless supply of energy. While just being around them can be exhausting at times, the sheer enormity of their energy also makes them capable of energizing an entire team.
There is nothing “wrong” with individuals with ADHD. Additionally, there is nothing to fix if you are an ADHD Leader. Rather, understand that as an ADHD Leader, you may actually have a superpower. ADHD Leaders have enormous capacities that leaders with neurotypical brain wiring do not. As an ADHD Leader, it’s imperative to understand both the strengths and weaknesses that individuals with ADHD bring to the table. Understand that businesses need creative, tapped in, turned on leaders. And today’s enormously fast pace can really make the most of an ADHD leader.
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Innovation is truly a benefit of employing and engaging ADHD leaders due to their unique makeup. Individuals with ADHD make tremendous business leaders and possibly even better entrepreneurs, as long as they are surrounded by people that are strong in the areas where an ADHD individual is weakest.
Special thanks to Jen McKenzie for being our guest blogger today!
Jen McKenzie is an independent business consultant from New York. She writes extensively on business, education and human resource topics. When Jennifer is not at her desk working, you can usually find her hiking or taking a road trip with her two dogs. You can reach Jennifer at twitter.com/jenmcknzie.