How Managers Can Support ADHD Adults At Work
Managers can support ADHD Adults or break them at work. It’s well-known that managers play a crucial role in supporting, guiding, and leading employees. Workplace skills include developing integrity, building accountability, and honing follow-up skills. For ADHD Adults, follow-up (or lack of it) can be a sore spot and a source of repeated failure and shame in the face of their manager. That’s why it’s important for managers to understand how to help build accountability with ADHD employees.
According to the Gartner Top HR Trends in the Workplace statistics, the manager-employee relationship has become critical to the post-Covid, new hybrid workplace since 2022. Managers are the first-line leaders to build a culture of success, clearly articulate expectations, and develop a culture of open communication. This article discusses some effective ways managers can build accountability in the workplace that encourages healthy follow-up.
Lead by example
More than ever, managers need to exhibit high personal integrity, accountability, and follow-up skills themselves. By demonstrating these qualities consistently, you set the right example for your employees to follow. You cannot expect your employees to do things you can not or do not do consistently. Take a personal inventory and get clear on your own personal gaps. Develop an action plan to help hone your own accountability and follow-up skills.
Managers can suppor ADHD Adults by clearly communicating expectations
To build accountability in ADHD Adults, it’s critical to clearly communicate expectations regarding integrity, and articulate exactly how you want them to follow up. Many ADHD Adults enjoy success. As such, they need to know your expectations in order to meet them. To help them avoid people-pleasing behaviors and build their own personal accountability, discuss your desired outcomes, and resources available, and clarify their authority and autonomy with the decisions you’d like them to have in order to see a project through to completion. Expecting unseasoned employees to complete tasks while disempowered, or feeling as if they have to ask permission to do anything, will result in delays and disappointments. By clearly discussing the desired task, how you will measure their success, how you’d like them to report back, and the authority or agency they have to make decisions, this will ensure their ability to complete the job assigned.
Build skills by providing training and resources
Many new employees are untrained, even so, they may be embarrassed to tell on themselves and say they need more training. When managers assume ‘they should know this’, check yourself. It’s better to assume your direct report doesn’t know, and ask what they need before assuming they’ve taken on the task. There are many pathways to train employees in the workplace. On-the-job training, mentoring, building knowledge, practicing skills, and testing abilities is helpful. Managers can organize training sessions or workshops to enhance employees’ understanding of personal integrity, accountability, and follow-up skills. Adequately train employees and provide necessary resources to help ADHD adults develop and improve these skills safely and without fear of failing.
Encourage follow-up by fostering a culture of transparency
Encourage open and honest communication within your teams. Create an environment where employees feel comfortable speaking up and taking ownership of their actions. This promotes personal integrity and accountability.
Set measurable goals and deadlines
To build accountability for ADHD Adults, managers should establish clear, measurable goals for employees and negotiate realistic deadlines. Establishing a regular communication method such as weekly meetings, or individual sessions periodically supports regular, consistent updates on progress and provides a feedback path. This promotes accountability and helps employees stay focused on their commitments.
To build accountability, managers should recognize and reward integrity
Managers can better support ADHD Adults at work by acknowledging and rewarding ADHD adults who consistently demonstrate personal integrity, accountability, and effective follow-up skills. This can be done through verbal recognition, bonuses, promotions, or other forms of positive reinforcement.
Provide constructive feedback
When an ADHD Adult falls short of expectations, make it private. For ADHD Adults, emotions can become dysregulated easily. That’s why it’s important to build social safety and trust by avoiding public shaming. Instead provide constructive, specific, objective feedback to help them improve. Do not comment on traits such as laziness, or sloppiness. Instead, offer clarity on what was expected and how those expectations were missed. This will help them enhance personal accountability and practice their follow-up skills. Encourage a growth mindset and provide opportunities for learning and development.
Foster a supportive environment
The old saying ‘safety first’ applies here. Managers should do everything they can to create a supportive and trusting work environment. Most ADHD Adults have a brutal inner critic who is loud and destabilizing! When you build a culture to help employees feel comfortable seeking guidance and admitting mistakes, everyone wins. Encourage teamwork and collaboration to foster a sense of accountability among team members.
Regular check-ins and performance evaluations
To build accountability and follow up with your ADHD employees, conduct regular check-ins and performance discussions to assess employees’ progress and provide feedback. Discuss areas where personal integrity, accountability, and follow-up skills can be further developed.
Address misconduct or lack of accountability promptly
If an employee exhibits misconduct or a lack of accountability, address the issue promptly and directly. Clearly communicate the consequences of such behavior while offering guidance on how to improve.
Remember, through consistency, support, and improvement Managers can support ADHD Adults to build accountability and encourage follow-up skills.
That’s why it’s important for managers to build a culture of success, clearly articulate expectations and develop a culture of open communication. The ten ideas here are proven and effective ways managers can build accountability in ADHD Adults at work and encourage a healthy follow-up culture.
To learn more about workplace and team management improvement, contact me. We can discuss customized training solutions to enhance your team’s performance and results.