Kinds of advice given to autistic managers

There are several distinct kinds of advice given to autistic managers, and while much of this is valuable, it often seems to focus on the autistic traits that are considered “disordered” and make it harder to “get on” in the (neurotypical) world. This is an attempt to catalogue those for future discussion. I'll probably have to come back and update it from time to time.

I've so far identified 5 types of advice:

  1. The advice which is given to neurotypical managers too. Managing people is a skill that doesn't come naturally to most people, so all managers will need advice and training at some point in their career. This doesn't stop being useful just because the manager is autistic: much of it is still useful, and it serves an additional function of giving us data to better understand the people we work with. But often it feels a little bit off for me, or is somehow harder to put into practice than it should be because I'm missing some key bit of information or intuition that apparently we're all expected to have.

  2. The advice on how to minimise the negative impact of your autism. This is usually taken to mean the impact on neurotypical people, directly or indirectly, and usually comes in the form of explanations of things that NT folks do but which don't come naturally to their autistic colleagues. Don't get me wrong, this is also useful, but it does mostly place the responsibility on the autistic person themselves to do the work of adapting to a world not designed with them in mind. Sometimes the delivery can be frustratingly patronising too...

  3. The advice to work around difficulties by avoiding responsibilities that might expose them. This might be helpful, but more on the level of career advice than job training, and needs to take careful consideration of the individual's unique range of abilities and not fall into the trap of making sweeping generalisations. Remember: if you've met an autistic person, that means you know one autistic person; don't assume because a challenge is insurmountable for some autistic people that it's insurmountable for us all. But don't force us to e.g. take on management responsibility just to justify paying us what we're worth either. Not being suited to managing people shouldn't be a barrier to a successful career.

  4. The advice on what adjustments can be made by those around you to make your life easier. This is really important and really nice when you realise it has happened, but it does rely on other people being aware of you and making changes to give you the space you need to work. It also requires good support structures within your organisation, or otherwise the confidence to take up space and insist on people meeting you halfway as you struggle through every day doing the #2-type things you're told to do, which isn't easy.

  5. The rare-as-hen's-teeth advice on how to effectively use the unique strengths bestowed by autism. There's a really interesting space where the advice given to (default neurotypical) managers is not the best advice for autistic managers in the same situation, and in fact the autistic manager can achieve better results by using a different strategy or tactic which builds on their autistic strengths. Neurotypical trainers may well avoid teaching these or even actively caution against them but they may still work best for us!

Of these 5 types, I'm waaaay more interested in #5 and #4 in the others, and they (especially #5) are the hardest to find. So that's what I'm going to look for more of!