Neurodivergence at work
Wouldn’t it be great if we could fast forward to a point where we don’t need labels. Where we have more flexibility, inclusion and understanding in educational and work cultures.
Where teachers, leaders, line managers and colleagues understand that one size does not fit all.And, people leaders know in practical terms how to get the very best from their people.
Commonly, I am asked to recommend a way of working to support neurodivergent employees to adapt to neurotypical structures, approaches or ways of thinking!
But, if we really want to create a culture of belonging, then we have to let go of these structures and become teachable.
The problem with this is often senior leaders think they know best or they are the experts!
My advice is always this. Avoid seeking support from an expert. You don’t need me!!!!
In reality, 90% of managers are results driven!
Believing your way is the right way is a symptom of the organisational culture.
Because, most organisations are results driven, most leaders value results and often job roles are designed or reward this behaviour.
Pretty understandable if you are super busy with tight deadlines and an excessive workload. However, this approach favours people who are neurotypical.
One of the biggest challenges I have working within organisations is trying to tactically and respectfully tell them this system or thinking is part of their organisational structure and it is not working.
In addition, it should be noted that people who not neurotypical, often have a lifetime of challenges, which can leave them with feelings of shame or blamed for falling short.
This makes it difficult to be vulnerable or ask for help when really needed and often results in masking behaviours, which are very damaging for a person’s mental health.
How do we create mentally healthy environments?
We need to nurture purpose & belonging where neurodivergent and neurotypical individuals can thrive at work.
This is just one example, but for people who are not neurotypical, and who may also sit across more than one intersectionality, such as race and gender the connection to purpose, enjoyment and meaning becomes even more important.
For example, ADHD or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is often described as the worst named mental health condition, as it contains two negatives (Deficit and Disorder) and no positives!
It’s not a deficit of attention, but a difficulty in channelling attention: Understeered, it manifests as inattention, and oversteered, as hyperfocus
It also emphasises hyperactivity which is not necessarily present. It actually causes inconsistent attention that is only activated under certain circumstances.
It is difficult to be activated by a boss’s request or teachers deadline. Because, the ADHD nervous system is interest-based, rather than importance- or priority-based.
It is only created by a momentary sense of interest, competition, novelty, or urgency created by a do-or-die deadline.
The GC Index
One of the most useful things to counteract feelings of shame and low self-esteem is to help that person figure out how they can succeed, within their own unique way of thinking or become their greatest cheerleader!
In my 6 month coaching programme, I use the GC index a unique strength based tool.
It is great for people who are neurodiverse because it focuses on proclivities and provides a thrive framework or language to acknowledge their unique contributions and helps to illicit the right support, by getting the best from their colleagues or team.
If you are part of this conversation, you probably are a kind and interesting people leader, passionate about creating purpose, nurturing your colleagues and creating a culture of learning, enjoyment and improvement.
If you would like to know more about the GC index and how you can get started please book a discovery call here