Executives: Are you ADHD? - Phil Drinkwater Coach

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Executives: Are you ADHD?

ADHD executives have natural passion and drive, but some elements of corporate life are a challenge. Look through this list to see if you see yourself on the page.
What we'll cover
There’s no doubt; ADHD is on everyone’s minds at the moment. Around 3% of the population is diagnosed, but in children it’s around 7%, leading to a suggestion that there are plenty of un-diagnosed ADHD individuals yet to find.

So, are you one of them?

Your executive life is full of stress and complexity. If you’re ADHD, you’ll have a set of strengths you’re already using. Your natural passion, exceptional innovation and ability to think outside of the box will have elevated you to senior leadership.

Does it feel like you’re failing with corporate responsibilities?

But you may also sometimes feel like you’re on the edge of failing, especially in seemingly simple tasks. And maybe you don’t quite know why. This can lead to embarrassment and frustration.

So, to give you a clue whether ADHD might be at play here, I’ve listed out 25 situations which might seem oddly familiar.

ADHD executives will have unique strengths and weaknesses

It’s important to highlight that there are three subtypes of ADHD, and that we’re all unique in our own ways too, so you may not find all of these situations are relevant to you.

But if many of them are, you could well be ADHD, and seeing your challenges in a new way will allow you to get a new direction via the proper steps to get help managing your ADHD.

List of frequent ADHD executive challenges

  1. Forgetting to Reply to Emails:
    You might overlook or forget to respond to important emails, leading to missed opportunities and frustration among colleagues. This can be caused by distraction, or presuming you’ll remember later.
  2. Always Late with Expense Claims:
    You may dislike or consistently be late in submitting expense claims, resulting in frustration from the accounts team, or delays in financial reporting. This is caused by ADHD individuals disliking mundane, repetitive tasks.
  3. Underestimating Time Needed for Tasks:
    You could regularly misjudge the time tasks will take, leading to rushed work and missed deadlines. This can be caused by time-blindness and not effectively planning.
  4. Multitasking Ineffectively:
    You could be trying to perform multiple tasks simultaneously, but end up compromising the quality of work in all areas. Some ADHD people are great multi-taskers, but not all.
  5. Difficulty Focusing in Open-Plan Offices:
    Executives might be easily distracted by conversations or noises, around them which reduces productivity and ability to concentrate. We find it hard it zone out the noise around us.
  6. Double-Booking Meetings:
    Difficulty remembering might cause us to schedule multiple meetings at the same time, due to poor calendar management. ADHD individuals have poor memory for some types of information.
  7. Changing Project Directions Frequently:
    ADHD executives may shift goals or strategies on projects often, causing confusion and wasted effort within the team. This is caused by the enormous amount of innovative ideas we have, our natural passion and our willingness to take risks.
  8. Forgetting Names and Details About Clients:
    We regularly struggle to recall critical information about clients or partners, potentially harming relationships. Our poor short-term memory is at fault here.
  9. Skipping Steps in Processes:
    We might be hurrying through tasks and missing critical steps, leading to errors and quality issues. Processes aren’t very comfortable for us, since they seem mundane.
  10. Overlooking Details in Contracts:
    It would be common for ADHD senior leaders dealing with legal documents to fail to notice key terms in contracts, resulting in potential legal or financial implications.
  11. Neglecting Long-Term Projects for Immediate Tasks:
    Prioritising urgent tasks over important long-term objectives, hindering strategic progress. Our desires for “something new” and “immediate reward” are the cause of this.
  12. Difficulty in Maintaining Organised Workspaces:
    Much we often prefer order, a cluttered desk or digital workspace is common, making it hard to quickly find necessary documents or tools.
  13. Impulse Purchases Without Proper Vetting:
    Executives may make quick decisions on purchases or investments without thorough research, affecting budget and resources. Our ADHD impulsivity is the cause of this.
  14. Losing Track of Important Documents: Organisation is key, but we may misplace crucial documents or reports needed within the business, causing inefficiency. We tend to forget regularly, and can become distracted easily during mundane tasks like filing.
  15. Inconsistent Follow-Up on Delegated Tasks:
    It is common to forget or dislike monitoring the progress of tasks you’ve delegated, leading to unfinished projects and inconsistent productivity.
  16. Avoiding Tasks That Require Sustained Attention:
    We might put off or avoid tedious tasks or those that require extended focus, such as mundane documentation. We prefer new, creative tasks.
  17. Relying Heavily on Reminders and Alarms:
    ADHD people might use numerous alarms or reminders to keep track of meetings, tasks, and deadlines, indicating issues with memory and organisation.
  18. Regularly Needing Extensions on Deadlines:
    Our lack of organisation leads to often requesting additional time to complete tasks or projects beyond the original deadline.
  19. Difficulty Adhering to Corporate Policies:
    ADHD executives may struggle to follow established procedures or guidelines, preferring to improvise. Our memories and desire to avoid repetition are the cause of this.
  20. Spontaneous Initiatives Without Full Planning:
    We might launch new projects or initiatives impulsively without comprehensive planning, leading to resource issues and confused teams. Our innovative brains are looking for stimulation.
  21. Overlooking the Impact of Decisions on Other Departments:
    It would be common to make decisions without considering their effects on other areas of the organisation, leading to siloed thinking, and frustration from other departments.
  22. Impatience with Slow Processes:
    We could exhibit frustration or impulsiveness in situations that necessitate patience or gradual progress and instead prefer short term projects.
  23. Sudden Loss of Interest in Ongoing Projects:
    We tend to be more interested at the start of projects, and lose motivation or interest in projects partway through, resulting in incomplete tasks or our teams feeling leaderless.
  24. Struggling to Start Tasks Without a Deadline:
    It’s very common for ADHD individuals to procrastinate on projects that lack an immediate external deadline, affecting long-term goals. We struggle with planning.
  25. Difficulty Prioritising Tasks:
    We often feel overwhelmed by the inability to decide which task should be done first, leading to inefficiency.

Did you find it difficult to focus on that list?

These are some situations that managers and executives will commonly face in corporate life, and which might be a challenge for ADHD individuals.

However, ADHD people might find it difficult to even read the list and maintain their concentration, depending on the type of ADHD you have.

If you think you’re ADHD after reading this list, reach out for some support.

For 1-2-1 coaching, book your free Success Strategy call
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