Did you know that 1 in 10 people in the UK have dyslexia? The answer is, probably not!
Why? Because many people feel ashamed about being dyslexic and keep it under wraps.
So why is there such a stigma about dyslexia? I meet a surprisingly large number of people facing redundancy who haven’t ‘come out’ about their perceived ‘disability’. ‘Come out’ seems a strange phrase to use, yet that’s how they behaved. They were ashamed. Their confidence was fragile.
They all expressed a genuine fear that they would be at a disadvantage when job searching and face longer periods of unemployment than their colleagues, due to their dyslexia.
However, during our outplacement coaching sessions, I was struck by the many advantages – rather than failings – they had over their colleagues. Their visual, problem solving and creative skills often more than made up for their shortcomings. Rather than a negative, their dyslexia was a positive!
Was the problem purely in their own heads? Would dyslexia really hold them back? Were employers prepared to look beyond the job description and consider their potential?
Absolutely! Dyslexia certainly didn’t hold any of these famous faces back …
The press is constantly full of dyslexia success stories, from Richard Branson crediting dyslexia with his success to Jennifer Aniston opening up about living with dyslexia. Rather than stopping them from succeeding, dyslexia has propelled them forwards at an incredible pace (Branson’s almost on his way to the moon!).
While the most common challenges associate with dyslexia involve reading, there are many tasks in which those with dyslexia are more likely to excel, due to these characteristics:
- Thinking outside the box
- Quick to grasp new concepts
- Sees the bigger picture – perspective
- Quick to recognise similarities and connections
- Problem solver
Dyslexia is clearly not a stumbling block to excellence. In fact, it’s easy to see the strengths that someone with dyslexia can bring to a business! Now that we have an extremely buoyant job market, is it time to start celebrating the gifts dyslexia brings to the workplace, rather than hiding it in the closest?
After all, a successful workplace is a diverse one…