Don't Let ADD Ruin Your Work Reputation, Fixes for Four Common Mistakes

Don't let your boss and co-workers jump to negative conclusions about your work ethic and abilities based on ADD-related behavior such as running late, missing a deadline, or interrupting a conversation. Resolve ADD-related issues.

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Manage Your Reputation © istockphoto/bluenemo

We’re judged by our actions. For those with ADD/ADHD, who struggle to be reliable and consistent, their actions can damage their reputation at work with bosses and friends. They may make negative assumptions about intentions and character, even if those conclusions are inaccurate.

It’s important to correct inaccurate assumptions that people have about you. They need to know that you mean well, even when things go wrong. Managing your reputation involves following five rules:

Acknowledge your limitations. Tell people what they should and shouldn’t expect from you. You will be found out quickly if you try to hide your weaknesses, so deal with them upfront. If someone asks you to remind him when it’s 3 o’clock, tell him that managing time isn't your strength.

Explain ADD/ADHD symptoms. It’s easy to read negative intentions into some ADD/ADHD behavior. Nip that in the bud, so that the other person doesn’t assume the worst -- for example, that forgetting where you left someone else's belonging doesn’t mean you don’t respect him.

Excel in other work areas. Tell -- better yet, show -- the other person how you’re trying to compensate for your limitation. Intentions matter. If you tend to forget something you hear on the fly, jot a note as a reminder.

Tell the other person to call you on any ADD/ADHD slip-ups. Don’t make a friend wonder what he should do. When you borrow something, tell the person to ask for it back, in case you forget to return it.

Rebalance the relationship. We all blow it sometimes, and when we do, we need to make amends. A personal gesture, like an apologetic e-mail goes a long way.

Use the following four strategies smooth over ADD/ADHD issues on the job that could offend or upset a boss, coworker, friend, or partner.

This article appears in the Spring 2010 issue of ADDitude.

To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.

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TAGS: ADHD Social Skills

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