All managers need to develop their career proactively. Simply sitting back in today’s dynamic business environment and expecting an organisation to develop a career for you is both unrealistic and is not going to happen.
In addition to this, most organisations will posses little insight into the special issues and requirements of a manager with AS. They will not be in a position to provide the training required to allow for ongoing development.
A key reason for the need for proactive career development is the rapid pace of change taking place in business today. This means that managers’ will inevitably need to change also and acquire new skills in the process. For managers’ with Asperger Syndrome (AS), change however can present real problems. It usually means alterations in the working environment and other disruptions which are exacerbated by AS related factors. Examples include alternating routines and having to learn to not only cope with change, but planning a career path that takes into account the factors inherent within AS and their influence.
Consequently, career planning should be a key personal objective for a manager with AS.
Central to career management is empowerment: the belief that a manager can influence personal development and any related career path. As a manager there is a need to increase control over personal development for a number of reasons, i.e. promotion, technical skill requirements. For a manager with AS, it becomes even more imperative given the lack of understanding and insight available to other, fellow professionals of the condition and the current existing level of training and support available.
The following are some of the issues, and related processes, that affect career development for a manager with AS.
• Acknowledging the Need for, and Accepting, Change.
Understanding and appreciating that turbulent business conditions today make change inevitable. Cognitively, a manager with AS needs to prepare for inevitable change. They also need to consider options within this context, and equip themselves emotionally and practically to deal with it.
• The Importance of Self-Analysis for Developing a Career Strategy.
Effective Career Planning revolves around three key facets: Self Analysis, Occupational Analysis and “True Reasoning”. The first two areas relate to personal and occupational information; the third is the relationship which exists across the first two areas.
Effective Self-Analysis means a clear understanding of the self, personal characteristics and qualities such as attitudes, abilities, interests, ambitions and internal resources along with individual strengths and limitations. Occupational analysis is knowledge about the requirements and conditions relating to success, along with the advantages, disadvantages, opportunities and prospects in different lines of work.
For someone with AS “true reasoning” is even more important given the effects that the condition can impose internally and, also, exert externally on other people.
A person with AS themselves will only truly know what drives them, what they are, and are not, good at. Effective understanding oneself in terms of personality traits, values and how they relate to occupations and organisations. As a result, being clear about what type of work one wants, one can do and the type of organisation someone wants to work within is required first. This should then to be related to available occupational options.
How can a manager with AS gain a clear inner, self-understanding so as to develop a successful Career Management policy?