Underperformance vs. Unidentified ADHD in the Workplace

Soham Mehta

Founder at Interview Kickstart



There was an underperforming employee in one of the teams that I had inherited. I had people questioning me as to why this person was still here. There was something about him however, that I wasn’t willing to just let go. It wasn’t making sense to me. He was generally a hard-working guy, with a good head on his shoulders, and our conversations went well, but overall, his work was not optimal. 

Actions taken

Being new to the team, I slowly began to build a relationship with him over the course of a few weeks. It was through this that I first learned he is diagnosed with ADHD. My thinking immediately went to the fact that I had been giving him all long term projects that needed long term coordination and focus. This was obviously not conducive to anyone. 

I came up with the idea to try and find some short attention span projects to put him on, like release cycles. I didn’t share this with him immediately, as I wanted to bounce it off my manger first. My manager was very supportive and in the end, we were able to find those types of projects for him.

Lessons learned

It is important to investigate underperformance issues when the facts aren’t necessarily adding up. The truth was, nobody had actually questioned why he wasn’t doing well. I was originally surprised by his performance issues because I was on his interview panel before having taken over his team and there were never any signs of inadequacy or lack of experience. Once switched over from long term to short term projects however, the employee’s performance saw an effective increase.

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Soham Mehta

Founder at Interview Kickstart

Leadership DevelopmentCommunicationOrganizational StrategyPerformance MetricsFeedback TechniquesCareer GrowthCareer ProgressionSkill DevelopmentIndividual Contributor RolesTeam & Project Management

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