A pressing question is how can neurodivergent individuals broach the topic of their neurodiversity with their manager. It certainly can be a tricky conversation to navigate, as you want to be sure that your manager understands both the challenges and the strengths that come along with your neurodiversity. Perhaps you are worried about how your manager will react. Will they despise me? Will they think I’m a burden to the team? Will this affect my job security? There’s no need to stress that the more open and honest you are about your needs, the more your manager will be able to support you in achieving success in your role. Here’s what to do;
First, educate yourself about your condition
It sounds like a waste of time wastage, but it isn’t. Take your time and learn about the type of neurodiversity you have, be it ADHD, Asperger’s Syndrome, dyslexia or any other form of neurodiversity. You will be in a better position and confident to explain it to your manager. Not only will you have a greater understanding of your condition, but you will also be able to answer any questions your manager might want to learn about your condition
Know your rights in the workplace
To best protect yourself, it is important to know your rights in the workplace. In the UK, the Equality Act of 2010 protects employees from discrimination based on a protected characteristic, which includes disability and type of neurodiversity. Don’t be afraid to use this law; be open and upfront about your condition with your manager. In most cases, they will be more than happy to work with you to find an appropriate solution that benefits you and the organisation.
Choose the right time to have the conversation
When you broach the topic of your neurodiversity with your manager, it is important to choose the right time. You don’t want to have this conversation during a hectic workday or when your manager is preoccupied with other tasks. Instead, try to schedule a meeting with your manager to get their undivided attention. If you’re unsure what time would work best, mention something like, “I wanted to discuss my ADHD with you. When Would it be the perfect time to schedule a meeting?”
If good, carry the necessary documentation
Although it isn’t always required (and here at Enna we don’t require an official diagnosis), in some cases, your manager might request to see medical documentation of your neurodiversity diagnosis. Be sure to have the necessary paperwork with you before the meeting. This will help to ensure that your manager takes your diagnosis seriously and understands the associated challenges. If you don’t have any documentation, that’s okay too. You can schedule a quick check-up with your doctor before the meeting and explain to them that you need a note or letter for your manager.
Be honest and open about your needs
When you’re meeting with your manager, it is important to be both honest and open about your needs in the workplace. This might include accommodations such as a flexible work schedule, extra time for assignments or projects, or access to certain technology or software by being upfront about your needs. You might be saying things like, “I need extra time to complete projects because of my ADHD. Would it be possible to have a flexible work schedule?” or “I need to use this particular software in order to do my job effectively. Can we purchase it for the office?”
Don’t forget to mention your strengths
In addition to discussing your challenges, it is also important to mention your strengths. This will help your manager see you as a well-rounded individual, not just someone with a disability. Be sure to highlight how your neurodiversity has helped you succeed. For example, “My ADHD has always helped me to think outside of the box and come up with creative solutions to problems.”
Following these suggestions can help ensure that the conversation goes smoothly and that you can get the accommodations you need in the workplace.