How to manage neurodiverse team members

How to manage neurodiverse team members

No two people think the same way. Everyone has a unique perspective and approach to things, learning and experiencing the world at their own pace. This concept is known as neurodiversity, and recognising such is the secret ingredient that makes a successful team. Read on, as we’ll be talking about neurodiversity, why managers should not take it for granted and how they should manage neurodiverse employees.

Neurodiversity: a detailed look

According to Harvard Health, neurodiversity is the idea that there is no “correct” way of thinking and experiencing the world. The idea is built around the fact that people perceive the world, learn, and behave differently. In other words, it reinforces the view that every human being is unique, and differences are but a natural product of this variation.

The term neurodiverse applies to the entirety of the human population. However, it is often brought up in discussions regarding neurological and developmental conditions such as autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. There has been a growing movement pushing for the acceptance and inclusion of neurodiverse individuals; such is now becoming prevalent in the world of work. 

How to manage a neurodiverse team

Understanding neurodiversity means being open to managing a team of neurodiverse individuals. Here’s how managers can accomplish this feat:

  1. Know the scope of your team’s neurodiversity

Not all teams have a semblance of homogeneity. In many cases, neurodiverse members stand out; even individuals in a completely neurotypical team may exhibit different ways of thinking. Understanding the degree of your team’s neurodiversity should help you come up with the best approach to manage your members effectively.

  1. Get help from experts in the subject

Handling a neurodiverse team may need more than mere eyeballing. You may have to reach out to people specialising in neurodiversity or successful leaders who have been in your situation. With their knowledge and advice, you should not waste time trying to figure things out on your own. 

  1. Create an inclusive work culture

Inculcate the concept of neurodiversity to your team and why it is important to be open to having neurodivergent members. You can go the extra mile by celebrating this diversity and making sure that every member is adequately supported according to their specific needs.

  1. Support and empower your neurodivergent workers

Create a supportive environment for non-neurotypical workers. Learn more about them and provide them with the necessary support to help them be successful with their tasks and be comfortable with their role. Additionally, you can give them assignments that take advantage of their natural strengths, allowing them to reach their full potential.

  1. Grow a neurodivergent perspective

As a neurotypical person, it may be hard to imagine the daily struggles of your neurodivergent team members. As such, take time to understand them – connect with them and learn their tics and how they view the world around them. In this way, you get yourself into their shoes, allowing you to know how you can help them best. 

Understanding and acceptance are key

Understanding the concept of neurodiversity is the first step to creating a more inclusive and diverse team. Meanwhile, accepting the fact that people think and do things differently is key to running a team that lets each member fulfil their full potential, allowing them to make significant contributions to the organisation.

About Sam P

EnterpriseZone Staff Writer

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