How to Be a Good Manager for Autistic People
Being a manager of autistic people is much easier than most people think. If you and your company want to make use of the Autism Advantage, heed the advice given below.
Autistic people are much better at solving tasks when the framework, intents and deadlines behind the tasks are clearly mapped out. As a manager it is important to clearly communicate your intent when delegating a task. It is also necessary to invest more time in follow-up talks where you and your autistic employee align the progress. This upfront investment will pay off once the routine of the task has been established. In future iterations of similar tasks, the autistic employee is usually able to solve the task faster and more precisely than their neurotypical colleagues.
Autistic people often perform at their best when their workday is predictable. This might include predictability in work hours, which people to communicate with and in task planning. The more well-structured these aspects are, the more energy will be available for the autistic employee to accomplish the task.
Autistic people concentrate the best when they are able to control their sensory surroundings. They will often benefit from sitting in a quiet office along with just a few, well-known people and using noise cancelling headphones. Using a ”do not disturb” sign might also be a good tool, making sure that these employees are disturbed as rarely as possible.
Social predictability means maintaining an open and explicit culture at the workplace. Autistic people might find it hard to decode all the unwritten rules that neurotypical people take for granted. For this reason, the manager must talk about social expectations and explain the nature of social conflicts. To neurotypical people, it might be obvious why two coworkers had a fight during the summer party – but your autistic employee might have trouble understanding decoding the interaction.
Be aware that some coworkers might be undiagnosed
As a manager, you might need to be aware that many undiagnosed people with autism traits are already employed at Danish workplaces. The autism diagnosis has only recently become more commonplace. Because of this, very few people over the age of 30 has an autism diagnosis. As a manager you might notice that some of your employees need more predictability and peace, and that social interactions at the workplace seem to cause difficulty or stress. There is a good chance that these people would benefit from an autism-friendly management style. It goes without saying that as a manager, you should not diagnose your employees. This is simply an encouragement to adjust your management style.
Here, you can read more about how to create an autism-friendly workplace.
We can help you become a better manager of autistisc people.