We know from various reports and research that neurodiversity is prevalent in the tech industry and also in entrepreneurs and business owners. 

I am a business owner with ADHD and my company, Creased Puddle, provides neurodiversity services to help organisations and individuals.

One of the services we deliver is helping organisations put practical support in place for their neurodivergent employees. 

But if like me, you are someone who has their own business and is neurodivergent, who makes reasonable adjustments for you? When I started thinking about writing this, I did cringe inwardly at the thought of sitting in my privileged position and writing about this topic, knowing that in all honestly it won’t land well with everyone.

But that shouldn’t make me not want to bring up this topic as it is relevant to so many business owners, managers and leaders in our world. We need to understand what the challenges are for those who are neurodivergent role models, trailblazers, disrupters and thought leaders.  

When the focus is very firmly, and rightly, on supporting those we are responsible for in whatever guise, who ensures that we don’t fall flat on our faces?

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On a personal level, I know that I have the best job in the whole world. That doesn’t mean, however, that sometimes the mask doesn’t slip. Sometimes I make mistakes that I’m not proud of and I get feedback that can be pretty hard to take sometimes.

I also hear my own internal narrative, which is less than supportive – and I wonder how on Earth I’ll recover the respect and support of those I work with. 

But recover you do, and you learn. Not just what to try and avoid again but also how caring and forgiving those around you are. You support them when they are low, they give you a leg up when you need to be back on the horse. It’s a team thing.

But achieving this kind of culture isn’t easy; putting aside the ego, the insecurities. I’ve had to learn to be comfortable with vulnerability and not having all the answers. It isn’t easy, but it’s so worth it!

I have learnt that as a leader no one is going to ensure that my ‘reasonable adjustments’ are in place; that’s down to me. I buy my own assistive tech, I pay for my own coaching and I work at home to manage overwhelm – and it works. I am honest with my team, I’m open to feedback and I’m learning how to empower and develop staff every single day.

So what’s the learning here? I hope that we can apply some understanding when a parent falls short. I hope we can check our reactions when a boss misses a deadline. I encourage us to accept a bit of difference when a public figure reads the room wrong. 

Neurodiversity is about us being fallible as leaders and managers and – for now – even with advances in AI, we still get to tick the box. I am not a robot!

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