So many discussions about Neurodiversity in the workplace centre around the challenges Neurodivergent people face day-to-day at work and Workplace Adjustments. Whilst Workplace Adjustments (mitigating challenges and barriers) are vital to our success at work, they tend to focus on the challenges we face.
However, as a Coach supporting ADHD, Autistic and other Neurodivergent professionals to reduce their overwhelm at work and thrive in their Careers, I know that it’s just as important to pay attention to and leverage the strengths your Neurodivergent brain gives you.
Here are three good reasons this is important:
1. Its Science!
Focusing on your strengths to achieve your goals rather than your challenges is a solid, proven, success strategy for everyone! In fact, research shows that focusing on developing your strengths leads to greater work satisfaction, well-being, and a greater likelihood of achieving your goals. Yay Science.
2. It’s about realising your unique value!
Although you might not have realised it yet, you are BETTER at those things than other people. This is the nature of your ‘Spiky Skills profile’. Imagine what might happen if you made the most of these talents and sold yourself as an expert in this area?
3. It’s about efficiency and productivity.
Let’s face it, you are always going to struggle when you are pretending to be Neurotypical because masking uses up so much brain capacity (research shows that masking accounts for lost productivity of up to 30%). So, work smarter not harder and use your strengths to reduce overwhelm at work and increase your success.
So, as a Neurodivergent professional, what kinds of strengths might you want to focus on?
Many neurodivergent people have incredible intuition and an ability to recognise patterns and make predictions that other people often miss (Stand up if you have ever come up with a prediction or trend only for the rest of the team not to see the value in it…only for the rest of the team to mention it again 6 months after you first mentioned it!? GUILTY!)
Others have special talents in memory, or the ability to make connections between things that would seem unrelated to a neurotypical person, which leads to skills such as creative problem solving and innovation.
Or take hyper-focus for example, if a neurodivergent person is particularly interested in something they can spent extensive periods of time focused on a particular task or complete significant amounts of work in very short time frames. Whilst it is important to ensure we look after our own wellbeing if Hyper-focus is one of our strengths, it is often when we are at our most productive and innovative, so learning to ‘do it well’ is a huge advantage.
Your Neurodivergent Strengths will be unique to you but may include some of these:
- Hyperfocus/Extended Concentration
- Out of the Box thinking
- Information Processing
- Creative Problem Solving
- Pattern Recognition
- Attention to Detail
- High energy and persistence
- Resilience and courage
- Calm in the face of disaster and able to think flexibly.
- Able to see possible risks or issues others miss.
- Specialised Interests (deep knowledge)
How can you get started using your Strengths more in the workplace?
- Review the list above and consider your personal strengths make up.
- Make a written list of your personal Neurodivergent Strengths (adding any I missed)
- Make a note of some of the ways in which you have used those strengths at work in the past.
- Make a note of the benefits those strengths in your current role/career.
- Make a note of how you could use them to be more successful in your current role/career.
- If you do not (yet!) feel you are working in a role or career where your Strengths are valued or made the most of…. well, it might be time for a rethink!
If you are a Neurodivergent professional, I would love to help you reduce your overwhelm at work and support you in designing a Career you can thrive in.
Alternatively, if you are an awesome manager or HR professional looking for ways to increase the wellbeing and performance of your Neurodivergent employees whilst boosting retention, innovation and profitability - let's talk!
Book a no-obligation complimentary 15 minute chat here to discuss how I can help you achieve your goals.