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What do Bill Gates, Bill Cosby, Cher, Einstein, Richard Branson, Michael Jordan or Jamie Oliver have in common?

They all have a diagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and are very successful despite or because of their "ADHD talents and strengths."

It is not uncommon to find those affected by ADHD as innovative visionaries at the leading edge of big companies. Others use their special skills as emergency physicians, artists, media workers, politicians or elite athletes. Unfortunately, not as many people in Europe as in the United States. More and more often, however, local companies are recognizing the monetary value of high creativity, strong intuition and the unconventional, associative way of thinking that characterizes employees affected by ADHD.

Informing yourself as an employer about ADHD in adulthood and thus understanding the somewhat different perceptions and reaction style of affected employees, opens up new solutions. Additional, previously unused resources of the affected employees can be identified and used for the benefit of the company.

The following ten points explain how one can succeed:

1.) Know about ADHD

ADHD is not a fad but is genetically as well as neurobiological conditioned, comes familiarly accumulated. Various studies have shown that ADHD does not grow during puberty and that around four to five percent of working adults are still affected by it. Most likely also in your company. People with ADHD are often confronted with prejudices, repeatedly encounter incomprehension. In doing so, they provide enormous adaptation services in order to keep up in everyday life. Because the stimulus filter weakness, a "too much" information and impressions, can lead to an overload of the brain. This can no longer sort and process the many attractions according to importance. Self-evident (scheduling, order or maintain structures) can be a show of strength. Frequent job changes, burnout, and social difficulties are the consequences.

2.) Recognize the resources

Employees with ADHD can be of great value to companies. After all, qualities that are partly negatively assessed by the environment often turn out to be strengths in the job. These employees quickly absorb changes and quickly gain an overview of complex situations. They value challenges and embark on new projects with verve. Their intuitive grasp of problems and their ability to create good links enable them to develop fast, unexpected, creative solutions. It is easy for victims to make order out of chaos in no time. They are good troubleshooters. Their enthusiasm, their hyper-focusing and thus the full immersion in a topic and fast collection of knowledge enabling them to deliver exceptional, unexpected achievements. Concerned are usually good multi-taskers and run under pressure to top form. People with ADHD are humorous, very emphatic and helpful. They identify with their work and are often involved with a lot of heart and soul.

3.) Know the challenges

But the medal also has a downside - many sufferers have problems with authorities: Rigid rules are difficult for them to keep, as long as they do not recognize their meaningfulness. They make impulsive decisions, are more forgetful than their colleagues and sometimes work inaccurately. As quick thinkers, they are impatient and tend to go it alone. Often they prioritize differently, have their own logic, put routine work in the background, or forget (in their view incidental) steps in work processes. People with ADHD are emotional and say directly what they think. However, they are very sensitive and quickly injured.

4.) Promotion of efficiency

A positive leadership culture, a good social climate, respect, and trust are crucial for success or failure, especially for employees with ADHD. If an employer uses a majority of the "3C method" (checking, correcting and criticizing), this means that the affected person's symptoms increase, they come under heavy pressure with negative stress. An internal blockage and absolute inactivity are possible effects. Those affected feel quickly as a failure, come in a defensive posture. Consequently, they no longer identify with their work and the break with the employer is inevitable. If, on the other hand, the majority of the "GPD method" is used (guide, promote, demand), this gives the affected person orientation and structure. In connection with their own autonomous field of responsibility, this increases self-esteem and motivation. This, in turn, has a positive effect on the personal drive and thus on the performance, which can be exceptionally high in an optimal working environment.


5.) Feedback as an indispensable tool

People with ADHD often have a very bad self-image because of their symptoms, and often do not know how to act on others with their behavior. Regular feedback gives them the opportunity to compare self and other images - they can readjust themselves in their process. They are quite critical if the feedback rules are applied correctly. Such appointments should be agreed at regular intervals and also adhered to. This creates mutual trust, gives orientation and promotes the important sense of team spirit and feelings for the employees concerned.

6.) Motivation through recognition and appreciation

An appreciative work environment has a particularly motivating effect. Often, people with ADHD lack recognition because, since childhood, they have mostly been judged by their failings both by themselves and their environment. Sufferers often feel that they are not providing the services they expect. Situational recognition, loyalty, and solution-oriented thinking have a turbo effect on motivation. This can mean that a lengthy project is finally brought to an end or uninteresting small stuff is addressed. ADHD sufferers basically reinforce the behavior for which they receive recognition. However, this must be done, again and again, otherwise, the drive goes out.

7.) The way to an optimized structure and organization

Helpful maybe a tutor who occasionally supports those affected. Be it the introduction of new technology, a new computer system or the development of administrative logic. Sometimes it is fruitful if the daily planning or the implementation of work with a colleague or a motivating supervisor in the morning is discussed briefly. This helps those affected to build up an inner action plan and to structure themselves.

8.) The ideal workplace

"Difficult" for ADHD sufferers are open-plan offices with high noise levels and all sorts of distractions. Due to the open-mindedness concentrated work, there is particularly difficult. Due to the mentioned stimulus filter weakness, it is very difficult for employees with ADHD to hide what is happening around them. A quieter environment away from the hustle and bustle helps to reduce the distraction. Also, the opportunity to work one day from home can be helpful and beneficial.


9.) Energy management in ADHD

It sounds paradoxical - employees with ADHD often appear strong and self-confident - despite inner doubts. It may well be that a whole team does not realize that the colleague is inwardly totally insecure and doubts about himself as well as his own work. Therefore, many sufferers tend to exaggerated perfectionism, want to prove a lot and put so much energy and energy into their tasks. Their enthusiasm and enthusiasm make them burn for projects. They forget the time, have trouble switching off and lose the balance between recovery and work. The danger of exhaustion is correspondingly high. As an employer, try to identify this spiral and encourage sufferers to occasionally compensate for their overtime, schedule a Friday or afford a mini-time-out that they would never allow themselves. The risk of burnout can be significantly reduced.

10.) Help for employers and employees

If you suspect an ADHD in an employee, discuss your observations together. A possible clarification by a specialist can be a great relief. The acceptance and reconciliation with one's own personality as well as the understanding of ADHD-typical behavioral patterns are the first steps.


If the environment is right, adults with ADHD will go beyond themselves and develop from a rough diamond to a jewel for the employer, using their sometimes outstanding skills for a company's success. Concrete and personal assistance in the sense of ADHD coaching can if necessary, also help to structure the working day better and to improve the quality of life. Specialized programs can be a valuable support for those affected and their work environment.

Play Attention is created for who want a superpower for the business life an ADHD brain.




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