Being a manager is like being a parent to an autistic kid. I know this because I am a manager and I also have an autistic twelve year old kid. My autistic son needs a clear set of rules that is handled firmly. He needs to know up front what we are going to do this day. He needs to know how we are going to do stuff, where and when. He hates sudden changes, and unclear messages. If I am going to change a plan at home I need to warn him. He can do a lot of tasks, but to get it done correctly he need reminders or he will wander off and start do all the things he is not supposed to. He just won’t do more than exactly what he is told, and he does not know the concept of time.
But you did say so…
My son takes all I say literally. For instance I once told him to lay low, because he was just about to get in trouble, after a while I asked him why he had been laying on the floor for so long. You told me to lay low!? A clear non confusing message is important both for him and for the people you are leading.
I like to have fun with this comparison, both being a parent and a manager can be a challenge from time to time. I do believe that thanks to him I am a better manager. My patience is much better; I know the importance of rules and clear messages. I know how people by basic instinct react to changes. I am just glad my department doesn’t get temper tantrums when things don’t go as planned.
But in the more serious corner.
There is a lesson to learn from him. Let them know what, where, when, how and why and you are on a great path to becoming a good manager.
Today is his twelfth birthday and we are celebrating today at the pizza place. Happy birthday Alex!
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