MANAGING ADULT DYSLEXIA
IN THE WORKPLACE
There are a remarkable number of theories of how best to manage people at work, but no one model occupies a dominant position in the hearts and minds of management scientists. Nor is there reason for optimism that a consensus will ever be reached regarding exactly what bewildered managers should do to bring out the best in those they manage. As far as managing people with dyslexia is concerned, the philosophies that managers subscribe to, in terms of schools of thought on how they should best perform their job, are not as important as having an awareness and understanding of dyslexia.
Managing effectively the needs of dyslexic workers enables them to realise their potential, and it avoids dyslexics at work becoming disabled by a system that makes false assumptions that fail to recognise and value their strengths. Dyslexic needs in the context of employment refer to differences that generally distinguish dyslexics from non-dyslexics, and that manifest themselves in the workplace as weaknesses. The most common such 'weakness' is a reduced capacity to hold verbal information in the working memory. One direct effect of this, as we discussed in Chapter 1, is that dyslexic workers are less likely than nondyslexic colleagues to retain the content of a conversation; consequently, workplaces that rely on workers remembering verbal information disable dyslexics. Many other examples of how dyslexic weaknesses lead to dyslexics being disabled in workplaces and remedies for those problems were discussed in Chapter 4. In this chapter, we look at potential areas of weaknesses in management practices that can disable dyslexics and how they can be remedied.
This chapter starts by examining the manager's role in the identification of dyslexia in the workplace. The important issue of how to approach the subject of dyslexia with an employee when there is cause for concern is also examined. Following this is a discussion of how dyslexia may be implicated in workplace stress and what action managers can take both to reduce the stress risks and alleviate the symptoms of stress.