Accommodating bipolar disorder in the workplace

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For example, if your new supervisor has a harsh and critical style that is exacerbating your anxiety disorder, you may ask to report to your former supervisor, whose style was more positive.Your employer might, instead, ask your new supervisor to take a more constructive approach with you, and offer to provide a mediator to help the two of you get along better.Employers often think their position of power gives them the right to bring up the disorder in the workplace, but it doesn't. However, always be positive around the employee, offering encouragement and asking if he needs anything from time to time. Despite being compassionate and encouraging to employees who suffer from bipolar, supervisors must still be concerned and watchful for the company.Take note of how your employee works with others, productivity, absences and special needs.Anxiety disorders may lead to intrusive thoughts, feelings of panic and fear, and difficulty handling changes and job-related stress.The resulting problems at work and with supervisors can exacerbate these already very challenging conditions.The good news is that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) may offer some help.

It’s also an easy decision for an employer to go to great lengths to hold on to an employee who is talented, creative, passionate, and productive.

If an area of concern arises, confront it directly and work with your employee to take care of it. Think of your best employee, regardless of mental disorders, and promote based on skill.

If your top employee is a person with bipolar, gauge his performance, absences, relationships with coworkers and how much you've actually noticed the bipolar affecting his performance.

So how should employers handle employees who are both troublesome and valuable?

That’s the dilemma posed by some employees with bipolar disorder, a condition characterized by moods that go from extremely good to exceptionally bad.

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