Never mix work with pleasure is an old adage often cited in business circles.
Focus on business issues only. Do not allow personal factors or values to encroach, cloud or contaminate relationships or judgements.
At first therefore, socialization may appear to have no direct relevance to business. Yet socialising at work is hugely important, especially so for someone with Asperger syndrome due to innate tendency to avoid doing so.
The objective of socialization should not however be to build friendships for personal reasons. It should be is about developing effective relationships with colleagues and gaining the benefits that derive from it.
Socialisation means being on show! It also means communication. Though outside the immediate work context, people will still be judging others. The potential therefore exists to create a negative impression by saying or doing things that could be used against a person later.
Caution whilst socialising is essential. Striking the correct balance between maintaining a degree distance and retaining cordial relations with work colleagues, is therefore an important and invaluable skill in business.
Consequently, as with anything interpersonal, socialization for a manager with Asperger syndrome presents particular challenges. In particular, achieving the right balance between business and inter-personal relations is necessary.
Working effectively with others, whilst not being open so as to allow others to take advantage or manipulate unfairly, is important yet often difficult to achieve. It may be especially difficult for manager with Asperger.
A commercial environment means that inter-personal relationships should focus largely on business. However, socialization is a part of the business scenario, albeit a different one with very different requirements from socialising in a non-work context.
A manager with Asperger therefore does need to socialize effectively and learn to acquire the skills required to do so.
Someone with AS though is usually not naturally pre-disposed to socialising. The condition affords a number of factors that mean a person with AS is less inclined to interact and socialise per se. These include:
* A lower desire to interact with peers;
* A lower interest in doing so;
* Reduced appreciation of social cues and nuances;
* Behaviour which may be less appropriate socially or emotionally;
* Lower ability to sense the feelings of others;
* Desire to converse or only engage in subject matter or objectives that match personal interests or are played to preferred conversational i.e. dominant, “rules”;
* Not seeing oneself as naturally part, or a member, of a group and – by extension – not a team player.
However, not socializing or integrating with colleagues is as detrimental for a manager with Asperger as mixing effectively is beneficial.
Learning how to do so is therefore an important management objective and one which can deliver real benefits.