Asperger syndrome involves individual centricity: a person being largely within their own world and working in their way and at a pace suitable to their own agenda.
A variety of factors may mean that productivity levels are lower than for other managers. At least, they may appear outwardly less so.
Such factors include the longer periods of time required initially to get on top on a work task. Also, the ability to concentrate intensively for long periods.
The higher the seniority of any manager, however, the greater the level of output and work efficiency expected. For a manager with AS this may not be easy to achieve.
Among the issues related to work productivity and AS are:
• Intellectual Requirements
The intellectual requirements or learning curve required in a management position may exceed that prevalent in some with Asperger – at least initially when a new role or task is taken on.
When a task is outside of what is of interest, or difficult, then a tendency to avoid and delay may occur. This allows an issue to fester cognitively, making uptake of any task later unappealing.
Lower concentration thresholds mean that application to a task for an extended period may be problematic. This may especially true if other tasks are pending and leads to the build up of anxiety and internal pressure.
The faster and more intense physiology of a person with AS, may result in periods of either high or low levels of anxiety and stress. Where the latter is positive it will act as a stimulant and result in higher levels or output; where negative the opposite will occur.
The rapidity with which a task is attended to may also result in unforced errors meaning that work will need to be re-visited later.
• Work Process & Planning
Lower ability to focus and concentrate for extended periods, a desire to select tasks of greater interest and the propensity to remain more distant from others and their priorities, all mean that work and tasks are likely to be undertaken in an unstructured and more ad-hoc fashion.
• Alternative Agendas & Viewpoints
Other people will be working on alternative job tasks meaning that the priorities of others are not immediately paramount. The willingness and ability to incorporate the requirements of others, both in themselves and in required timeframes, will not automatically occur.
The more rigid, literal thought mode inherent within Asperger may mean that seeking, considering and incorporating the alternative views and thoughts of others is less likely.
Greater reluctance to do so may result in expertise and valuable input being absent and passed over leading to slower progress. In addition, disdain at being overlooked may cause others to complain. This leads to time being expended on inter-personal discussion rather than technical related activity.
Rapidly changing environments are increasingly prevalent and unavoidable in the business world.
Change inevitably means upheaval. Upheaval for someone with Asperger means disruption: in general and to existing, established working patterns which, in turn, will impact negatively on productivity. This may be even more pronounced when change is sudden and unexpected.
Productivity levels for a manager with AS can, however, be significantly improved.