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How to embrace neurodiversity in your team

People come in all shapes and sizes – and this applies equally to how our brains work.

Research in neurodiversity has shown that we all think in different ways, and that there’s no single ‘hard-wired’ way for our brains to work. This diversity can be a major asset, but it also has an impact on how you manage your team and the ways your employees will choose to work.

What neurodiversity means for you as a people manager

Neurodiversity is the description of the variations that exist in the workings of the human brain and mind from person to person. Some of us have brains that work in a more standard or ‘neurotypical’ way. Others of us have more neurodivergent brain types, where the way our brain functions differs from the neurotypical blueprint. Neither is ‘better’. They are just different and this is key to grasping the varied ways that your team members may approach a problem, or choose to work.

A rough guide to the various types of neurodiversity

Employees who identify as neurodiverse are not all the same, and will have specific needs, superskills or work preferences that define how you can maximise their input in your workforce.

Let’s take a look at some of the more well-known types:

The pros and cons of having a neurodivergent team

Each type of neurodiversity has its own unique strengths and challenges. For example, people with ASD may have difficulty with social interaction but can be exceptionally good at problem solving. People with ADHD may have difficulty with focus and concentration but may be very creative, energetic and full of incredible ideas.

It is important to understand the different brain types and how they affect the way we work. This helps you become a more effective and empathetic manager, while also creating a more inclusive workplace where everyone in your team feels comfortable and happy.

Flex your people management to accommodate neurodiversity

Different people need different management strategies. This is true of neurotypical employees as much as neurodiverse workers. But there’s a real imperative to flex your management style when working with neurodivergent people. A process, task or approach that works for YOU may be totally wrong for a person living with ASD, ADHD or any of the many different neurodiverse conditions.

Here are some tips for getting the very best from your neurodivergent employees:

Diverse business teams deliver 60% better results and make better decisions in 87% of cases. With a better grasp of how different minds work, you make your employees feel more valued, and create a team that uses its skills in the most productive ways.

When you embrace the diversity of your team, you create a more innovative and creative workplace – and the key to this is getting on board with everyone’s core strengths.

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