How to Work for Bosses with ADHD


Do find that your boss seems inattentive and distracted? Are your directions from him seemingly unorganized and inconsistent? It is possible that your boss has Attention Deficient Disorder which can come with or without hyperactivity (ADD or ADHD). While this can make for a frustrating work environment, there are things you can do to work with your boss’ ADHD rather than against it. By taking a constructive and positive approach, you may just find that the ADHD has some advantages that you did not recognized before.

Research some basic information about ADHD. By understanding just how your boss’ brain works, you will be able to better appreciate the positive and manage the negative aspects. Some basics about adults with ADHD are that their brain takes everything in more than the average person, and sorting information takes more time for them. Your boss can probably give great focus to, and have a wealth of knowledge about, topics that interest her. Other topics less interesting cause her brain to throw up road blocks making her easily distracted.

Write everything down. Take good notes at meetings or when your boss gives you directions, and save emails. After meetings send a copy of the notes to your boss as a friendly gesture of what was discussed or decided at a meeting.

Help your boss focus by asking pertinent questions. Those with ADHD tend to go on tangents, they have so many thoughts it may be hard for them to focus. If this happens and you need to get to the point or have a meeting move on, as nicely as possible, ask your boss a question that will get his focus back on the topic that needs to be discussed. If his tangents are random, then feel free to try inserting random questions that are about business topics that need to be discussed.

Give your boss time to make decisions. She may take time to sort through her thoughts and goals on a matter before coming to a decision. Ask for decisions a day or two in advance if possible, and keep checking in on her thoughts about the matter.

Give your boss reminders. If deadlines are approaching or a meeting is scheduled, then send email reminders or give indirect verbal reminders by saying, “so I’ll see you at the 1 p.m. meeting in the break room.”

Give your boss a gift he can use. If his hyperactive side that causes him to fidget, pace, or squirm is driving you a little nutty, then think of creative office holiday gifts that can keep him busy. Stress balls are one idea. Maybe keep one for yourself too.

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