Neurodivergence in the Workplace

While some might argue that “if they need to be micro-managed, then they’re probably not good at their job”, we need to take into cognizance the ones who know how to do the work, but struggle with time management, accountability etc.

Some have recommended hiring a middle-level manager to take care of such gaps, mentorship training etc., but a lot is left unsaid about those who struggle with issues like these, not because of incompetence, but because a difference in neurology make certain tasks a lot more difficult for them to handle (read up on executive dysfunction). Once in a while, they even get things done the proper way, and it worsens the situation, because they come off as lazy or without regard. Let’s take a closer look at this demographic.

A skilled neurodivergent person would be incredibly good at their job. They’d deliver excellent work done with thoroughness and precision, even under pressure, and on tight deadlines. The problem, is usually getting them do to the said work, and turn it in on time. Common flags include lateness, missed deadlines, self-criticism, a lot of apologizing.

Underneath the “wasting potential” is a self-critical person who holds themselves to higher standards than their organization probably does, and so explain why their work is almost always excellent. However, self-criticism opens the door to worry and anxiety, so they would obsess over doing “perfect” work, and miss the deadline. Or executive dysfunction was kicking their ass and they haven’t been able to start, or time blindness happened, and they lost track of the time they were meant to start, or the out-of-sight-out-of-mind syndrome that ADHD is famous for showed up, and they forgot the task existed, until they got queried.

The downside is that if not properly managed, the disciplinary actions could worsen their feelings and lead them into a downward spiral of self-loathing that puts them in a worse mental state for the current/next task (blame rejection sensitive dysphoria), and their work suffers.

While I know that it is tempting to want to fire such a person, please consider that you hired humans, not robots. Also, if properly nurtured, neuro-divergent people become some of the best staff you could ever possibly hire. Most of them benefit from unique accommodations, a tad more responsibility and a support team mate.

The pressure of responsibility and the support of a team mate would often help pull them through the lapses of executive dysfunction.

A supporting alternative would be to get clearer with deadlines AND the implications  of missing the deadlines (not firing, but what it means to other staff/department/company). It also helps to give examples of what the finished product should look like/what it would be used for (again the principle of pressure of responsibility) or extend timelines by assigning tasks ahead of time (plan out the week/month for example)

If they (or the company) can afford it, suggest a productivity/efficiency coach who’s skilled at working with neuro-divergent people.

An alarming proportion of neuro divergent adults are undiagnosed, and it’s problems like these that expose them (or worse cripple their growth/careers). They have the skills/know their stuff, but unless effectively managed, may never grow into full potential

P.S.: If you need help structuring your business/workplace to help your staff be more productive, or get rid of this sort of bottleneck by training your managers/leaders to handle this sort of situation, please reach out or send a mail to for more information.

Jane Hadassah OLUWADARE

Join the discussion


Jane Oluwadare

She helps neurodivergent people build income models, sustainable systems and learning structures suited to their own unique contexts, strengths and abilities.

Schooled as a Biochemist with clinical exposure and practice, the graduate of the University of Ibadan has spent several years curating knowledge and expressing the many facets of her talents and personality. She is now committed to showing the next generation how to do everything, and win by building bridges from the past, leveraging history, technology and innovation to forge a future that works for them.

As a coach, she continues to work with individuals (with special focus on neurodivergent people) to work through choke points in their different facets, finding strategies that'll push them through to the next phase.

With over 15 years of sewing under her belt, she has over time in her experience with a wide range of female clothing and the female form, constructed entire wardrobes from the scratch. She brings this wealth of exposure and experience to bear in running her fashion house (Hadassah's Stitches Fashion House), guiding the production of dresses for sale, leveraging on her gift for fabric selection to suit contexts and soothe sensory needs. She also teaches classes on garment construction, pattern drafting and the business of fashion.

An International Youth Council member and Global Youth Ambassador, she sits on the boards of several youth-led organizations in an advisory capacity; and continues to work with others to help develop children and young people to create a life of impact.

An avid food lover, chef and food critic, Hadassah spends her time creating new dishes, working as a private chef and running ZoéSpice Kitchen and Events. She is also curating her uniquely crafted kitchen secrets to be passed on. She puts all of her medical and nutritional experience together with over a decade of cooking and crafting recipes to create meal plans for her clients, helping them achieve a healthy lifestyle and desired body goal, based on everyday food items.

At the heart of her entrepreneurial ventures, she is the Executive Director of CriArt Skill Academy, a tech-driven school for creatives and neurodivergents to learn creative, social and life skills as backed up by their school curriculum. The wide array of options mean that no one is left behind, and there's an option that works for every student.

An avid writer, she uses her books and articles to educate, inform and entertain, making them valuable supporting resources in her work as a coach, mentor and teacher. They are available as e-copies, audiobooks, and in print.

At Phronesis Lighthouse, she continues to link people with knowledge, and ready to share, with people who are hungry to learn via programs, training, courses, and networking events.

She speaks, trains and consults, and has received numerous awards across her various spheres of influence.

At the very core of her being, Hadassah keeps chasing after The One who keeps her balanced and finds the ultimate fulfillment in her fellowship with the Holy Spirit. She quips that He is the real super power that keeps her functioning as an autistic person with ADHD, and often shares the insights He teaches her on Personal Development, Business Development and mindset reorientation according to the Word with Deborah's Court (her ministry expression).

Select your currency
USD United States (US) dollar