Ever have an employee that has dyslexia or who you suspect may have dyslexia? Do you wonder what is the best way to support your employee, and help them achieve success? First, you should remember that dyslexia is not a one-size fits all disorder, or as I like to refer to it instead as learning difference.
According to the International Dyslexia Association, dyslexia is a neurologically based condition caused by a different wiring in the brain. People with dyslexia are not less intelligent and some say the way individuals with dyslexia think can be a great part of achieving success.
Kudos to those employers who recognize dyslexia as a strength– for your leadership and commitment to being more inclusive. The interest in learning more about dyslexia to best support your employees will help you lead them towards using their full potential.
Previously in my career, I joined a large Chicago-based law firm, as a trainer for the new hires. During my very short employment there, I was provided a written-verbal warning for my carelessness with my emails. This was explained as I had consistent spelling errors, often, and my direct manager felt it was unprofessional. She pulled out paper copies of my emails, highlighted my mistakes and explained if I didn’t correct this behavior, I would be terminated.
I was not in a safe environment to share my dyslexia. I left her office feeling like a failure. Confiding in a coworker, we discovered that my spell-check was off in the email settings. However, it’s important to note that spell-check doesn’t correct everything, and I still had “careless” emails. I wasn’t terminated, but I did feel as though I wouldn’t be able to overcome the judgment of that situation and look for employment elsewhere as soon as I could.
To the leaders reading this, it is important for you to initiate and maintain open dialog while providing a safe space free of judgment for your employees with dyslexia to share with you more in detail where they may be having some challenges.
My recommendation is to thank your employee for the open and honest communication. Acknowledge that you know dyslexia can be challenging and that you want to support them in the way that works best for them. This will open a positive platform for discussing important work-related subjects, the need for resources and allows your employees to set boundaries.
LinkedIn states that 93% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their careers. Having a supportive manager that enables professional growth without judgment is priceless in an employee’s career development.