Project Management

Embracing Neurodiversity: A Key to Stronger Talent Management

PMI Washington, DC Chapter

Latoya is a manager in Leesburg, Virginia.

The corporate world is becoming more and more diverse. When we think of diversity, we often think of cultural, religious and racial diversity, but it doesn’t end there. Asperger syndrome, also known in the medical field as high-functioning autism (HFA) or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is increasing the need for understanding of a new type of diversity: neurodiversity.

This type of diversity is not recognizable from outward appearance, but rather differences in cognitive behavior. This article provides insight into how to best recognize staff with neurodiverse traits and how to effectively manage these team members so that both the project and the individual can be successful.

A few years ago, I worked with someone who supported many of my projects. It was not a great working relationship. We just did not seem to be on the same page, and we often clashed. It turned out that this individual had Asperger’s, yet my interpretation of his behavior—and his interpretation of my direction and management—led to a very ineffective relationship wrought with misunderstanding. That could have been mitigated if I had better awareness of neurodiversity and knew strategies to better manage based on those needs.

The goal of this article is to start a movement of awareness in the project management industry and human resource management by:

  • Creating …

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"All generalizations are dangerous, even this one."

- Alexandre Dumas