Managing People

Like one’s relationship with a superior manager, the relationship that a manager has with their staff is also vitally important.

As it invariably revolves around interpersonal relationships, it is likely to be potentially one of the – if not the – most challenging and difficult managerial tasks that a management professional with AS has to face and undertake.

Most managers will encounter difficulties with staff during their managerial careers. For a manager with AS, there are certain approaches which can help develop confidence in managing people effectively. They can also mitigate some of the Asperger related factors which can impact detrimentally in this area.

For someone with AS, managing staff, and related, relevant man-management techniques, revolve around four key areas. These also contain other, related issues.

• Empathy

One of the biggest challenges of all for someone with AS, and the starting point for good interpersonal management, is the effective understanding and empathising with others. Understanding someone else, and putting ones-self in their position, helps develop not only empathy, but also assists in building trust and the gaining of subordinate support.

• Individual Appraisal

Everyone is different. Managing people in a way that is suitable and commensurate with their character, personality and individual requirements is essential. A good starting point is to ask: what is driving and motivating this person, what are their values, what approach towards them needs to be adopted in order to get the best out of them in terms of performance? Some people will require close and regular attention; others not for example.

Naturally, evaluating a person from their perspective is not, however, typical or automatically easy for a manager with AS.

• Manage Others How You Would Like to be Managed Yourself.

Sounds simple, but this is what will usually work best for someone with AS. An overall objective should be to make someone feel valued and appreciated. The best way to get this from a person with AS is to encourage them, support them, reduce the [negative] pressure that they are working under and to acknowledge effort and achievement.

Such an approach invariably works best with others. Doing so involves reducing AS related behavioural tendencies.

• Ask for Assistance

Not a usual management approach, but one which can be hugely beneficial for someone with AS. Inferior empathising skills and a weaker ability to mind read mean that asking sub-ordinates directly for feedback can provide the understanding needed to effectively manage and develop people.

Asking staff directly about their needs and objectives to acquire the required detail: “what do you need/need from me to do your job effectively?” Direct feedback removes the need to have to infer the motives or needs or others and allows for literal interpretation.

How can these requirements be put into practice?

Managing with Asperger Syndrome