The ADHD leader is an asset to your organization. We, ADHD leaders, thrive in intense, unpredictable, innovative, fast-paced environments. We see connections where others may not, and we make those connections fast. We don’t panic when faced with risk; we are often comfortable in situations where critical decisions are made moment by moment. We under-react, not under-respond, in cases where others may experience fight, flight, or freeze, while still being able to scan our environment for the next thing to occur.
We seek new opportunities, and we are insatiably curious. We have a strong work ethic, having learned that we needed to work hard for our accomplishments. We see the big picture and are committed to accomplishing outcomes enthusiastically. Our ability to access hyperfocus makes us incredibly productive and driven. We are resilient.
We love to problem solve as it allows us to think outside the box if we are even aware there is a box.
ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, and it’s misleading. Dr. William Dodson explains that the most common characteristics among individuals with ADHD are interest-based ADHD nervous systems, emotional hyperarousal, and rejection sensitivity.
Interest-based ADHD nervous systems are focused or not. We get hyper-focused and engaged, so much we lose track of time. We access this hyper-focus by trying new things, doing what we love, being in an urgent/emergent situation, and getting curious about something.
Hyperarousal is manifested in many different ways. We may not know what it is to relax, or perhaps we have never felt relaxed. We often feel like we must be doing or learning something all the time; we don’t know how to shut our brains off, so sleep can be elusive. Hyperarousal can also include being sensitive to feedback, both positive and negative. However, because of this quality, we are intuitive.
Rejection sensitivity is felt when we have a sense we have failed an individual who is important to us. It can even show up when we think we have failed ourselves by not living up to our expectations. The experience of this is physically painful. We generally don’t want to talk about it because we believe we just might be too much to handle. It’s intense, so it is often masked. We feel big emotions. Because of this, we are very aware of our shortcomings and exhibit humility inside of recognizing we are all human. In addition, we can sense others’ emotional states giving us a high EQ.
We manage our shortcomings by creating routines to support the structure we need to be successful. We prioritize and then reprioritize as needed. We delegate to individuals who are better at specific tasks than we are without hesitation, knowing we are successful if our team is successful. We trust those on our teams. Like any leader, with or without ADHD, the key to success is surrounding ourselves with a diverse group, balancing the team’s strengths and weaknesses across its members.
Indeed, the ADHD leader is an ideal candidate for corporate leadership and entrepreneurship.
Dr. William Dodson: