Saturday, May 18, 2013

When the Boss Has Asperger's


This is a repost of a popular post that wasn't opening correctly. Rather than spend a lot of time troubleshooting, I'm just moving the post. 

A reader of this blog recently questioned, “How do I work successfully for a boss who has Asperger’s?” Of course, people with Asperger’s have always worked, frequently in positions of authority and power. What’s new is the public recognition that Asperger’s and autism exist; that the community doesn’t include just children, but adults as well; and that Asperger’s and autism bring strengths and abilities that management values. At the same time, people with Asperger’s and autism tend to be different than neurotypicals, especially in the ways they communicate and interact socially. (Neurotypicals are those without Asperger’s or autism.) 
Let me start with a simple warning. Don’t assume that all engineers and scientists have Asperger’s or that all people with Asperger’s or autism are the same. These conditions are tough to diagnose, they have a wide range of characteristics, and individuals with the condition have varying strengths, abilities, and weaknesses. So, whether or not your boss has a formal Asperger’s diagnosis, or even if you’re just guessing about it, pay attention to the individual, and try to adapt your work to what your boss specifically wants.
That said, there are typical characteristics of individuals with Asperger’s. Many individuals with Asperger’s struggle with figuring out social situations, like how to manage small talk, or the subtleties of interpersonal hierarchies. Making and maintaining traditional eye contact can be uncomfortable or even overwhelming. There may be extreme sensitivities to things like perfume or fluorescent light. A person with Asperger’s may not organize things in the same way as coworkers. Many individuals with Asperger’s have a strong and intense knowledge and interest in some specific area, often the very area where you are both employed. Their knowledge level and speed of absorbing new material may be well beyond your abilities. Frequently, these individuals are straightforward and direct.
The social differences can be the most difficult for neurotypicals to deal with. We neurotypicals value small talk and what may seem like meaningless social interactions. Without them, we can start to question if there’s something wrong, if we’re missing something, or if the boss is unhappy with our performance. Eye contact comes into play here too. Neurotypicals expect eye contact, and it’s very subtly choreographed.  Without that typical interaction, we can feel ignored, misunderstood, or disrespected. But, it’s important to remember that the differences due to Asperger’s may mean that we’re reading a lot into a friendly situation.
Rather than speak for an individual with Asperger’s, I went to an expert. Joel Smith works as an IT supervisor for a government agency and he’s been diagnosed as being on the Asperger's/autism spectrum.   I posed the question to him about how best to work for a boss with Asperger’s, and got this response:
“I work best when people working for me will tell me in black and white terms what they need to do their job - I'll miss subtle hints,  I'd prefer someone to just come out and say what they are looking  for.  Similarly with interpersonal issues or conflicts among  subordinates - I need to know what is going on, and I might not "just pick up on it". I don't talk differently to upper management or subordinates - I  don't "translate" between the languages. I suspect a lot of autistic bosses got where they were not through social networking but rather through ability.  So don't feed them  bull about their area of expertise.”
Thanks for your question, and I hope this has been helpful to you in working productively with your boss. I’d love to get comments from other professionals with Asperger’s or autism about how you’d like to interact with neurotypical coworkers, bosses or employees. Please send me an email, list a trackback, or post a comment.

7 comments:

  1. Replies


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    2. WHAT A GREAT MIRACLE THAT I HAVE EVER SEE IN MY LIFE. My names are Clara David I’m a citizen of USA, My younger sister was sicking of
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  4. I'm 59 years old and female. I was diagnosed a couple of years ago with COPD and I was beyond scared! My lung function test indicated 49% capacity. After having had flu a year ago, the shortness of breath, coughing and chest pains continued even after being treated with antibiotics. I've been smoking two packs a day for 36 years. Being born without a sternum caused my ribs to be curled in just one inch away from my spine, resulting to underdeveloped lungs. At age 34 I had surgery and it was fixed. Unfortunately my smoking just caused more damage to my already under developed lungs. The problem was having is that I enjoy smoking and don't want to give up! Have tried twice before and nearly went crazy and don't want to go through that again. I saw the fear in my husband and children's eyes when I told them about my condition then they start to find solution on their own to help my condition.I am an 59 now who was diagnose COPD emphysema which I know was from my years of smoking. I started smoking in school when smoking was socially acceptable. I remember when smoking was permitted in hospitals. It was not known then how dangerous cigarettes were for us, and it seemed everybody smoked but i was able to get rid of my COPD lung condition through the help of total cure herbal foundation my husband bought, totalcureherbsfoundation .c om has the right herbal formula to help you get rid and repair any lung conditions and cure you totally with their natural organic herbs,it class products at affordable prices. Purchase these medicines and get the generic medicines delivered in USA, UK & Australia,I wish anybody who starts smoking at a young age would realize what will eventually happen to their bodies if they continue that vile habit throughout their life.

    ReplyDelete
  5. WHAT A GREAT MIRACLE THAT I HAVE EVER SEE IN MY LIFE. My names are Clara David I’m a citizen of USA, My younger sister was sicking of
    breast cancer and her name is Sandra David I and my family have taking her
    to all kind of hospital in USA still yet no good result. I decided to go to
    the internet and search for cancer cure so that was how I find a lady
    called peter Lizzy she was testifies to the world about the goodness of a
    herbal man who has the roots and herbs to cure all kind of disease and the
    herbal man email was there. So I decided to contact the herbal man @herbalist_sakura for my
    younger sister help to cure her breast cancer. I contacted him and told him
    my problem he told me that I should not worry that my sister cancer will be
    cure, he told me that there is a medicine that he is going to give me that
    I will cook it and give it to my sister to drink for one week, so I ask how
    can I receive the cure that I am in USA, he told me
    That I will pay for the delivery service. The courier service can
    transport it to me so he told me the amount I will pay, so my dad paid for
    the delivery fee. two days later I receive the cure from the courier
    service so I used it as the herbal man instructed me to, before the week
    complete my sister cancer was healed and it was like a dream to me not
    knowing that it was physical I and my family were very happy about the
    miracle of Doctor so my dad wanted to pay him 5 million us dollars the
    herbal man did not accept the offer from my dad, but I don't know why he
    didn't accept the offer, he only say that I should tell the world about him
    and his miracle he perform so am now here to tell the world about him if
    you or your relative is having any kind of disease that you can't get from
    the hospital please contact dr.sakuraspellalter@gmail.com or whats app him
    +2348110114739 / via his website https://drsakuraspellalter.weebly.com/ you can follow him up on Instagram @herbalist_sakura for the cure, he will help you out with the
    problem. And if you need more information about the doctor you can mail me
    davidclara223@gmail.com 

    ReplyDelete