When a client asks, “Should I tell my boss about my ADHD?” my answer is almost always a loud “No!”
Who you tell about your ADHD is an important decision. This is definitely one place NOT to be impulsive.
Disclosing attention deficit can have a big influence on your career and how you’re treated. I recommend you carefully think through who to tell about your ADHD and who not to tell.
I detest that we even have to talk about this. How I wish it were different. But, it’s a reality. Perceptions of you will possibly change after someone discovers you have ADHD. Especially at work.
Telling your boss you have ADHD can be a gamble. I’ve noticed about half the people who disclose at work mysteriously have performance issues pop up.
Even if they’ve been considered good employees before the disclosure.
Somehow, after the ADHD disclosure, that messy desk and late arrival are cause for reprimand or even become reasons for termination.
As ugly as it is, I’ve seen some instances where the boss begins to build a case against the employee. Not everyone understands ADHD or wants to take the time or energy to help an employee succeed.
This isn’t always true. A few clients have had exceptional support from their supervisor. Some companies even pay the ADHD coaching fees. You just never know. Plus, even if your current boss is supportive with ADHD in your employee file your next supervisor may not look on it so kindly. I’ve seen that happen, too.
If you shouldn’t tell your boss about your ADHD what should you do? Do you just struggle in silence?
Of course not. Struggling never solves anything.
Focus on learning your ADHD management skills to improve your work performance. Many clients hire me for coaching to do just this. Learn how to be on time, manage conflicting priorities, meet deadlines, organize your desk. Building these skills at work will make your life easier at home, too.
If your ADHD fueled habits do come up simply say, “It’s hard for me to keep my desk organized, and I could use some help.” There’s usually no need to bring your diagnosis into it.
Next time you wonder, “should I tell my boss about my ADHD?” Pause long and hard first. What could be the consequences? What can you try instead? Silence may literally be golden.