I remember getting a interesting compliment from my boss on my work ethic; it was as much his own transparent introspection as it was a testament to my drive:
“I have actually let things slip, knowing that you will catch them.”
(And for the record, this was a manager who did and does get things done!)
I was grateful for the feedback — flattered even!
Despite my troubles in other areas (tact, speaking out of turn, saying too much, being too direct, you get the trend) — in both leadership and in individual contribution, there are some ‘autistic features’ that have really helped me.
And they’re common enough among us autists to where they help you.
We’re great at laser-focusing on tasks.
I ended up building all of my Excel skills purely by taking on the most tedious and taxing items that involved spreadsheets, formulas, all that jazz. While I’ve since moved on to more fun tools (hello, Tableau!), my ability to zero in and grind out arduous work paid off.
For all of our tactlessness, we are at least forthright about when something is great or not great. Back when I managed supervisors, I wasn’t always the most accommodating, nor the warmest, fuzziest manager. But I was honest, and that brought out the best in my folks – the expectations and feedback were always clear.
We’re good with details.
One of my best career experiences was with a global communication team — I was fortunate to be in a role that allowed me to fight for excellence in even the smallest details: pixel-perfect presentation arrangements, fine-toothed grammatical combing, and punctilious analysis of distribution lists, procedures, and more.
We’re quite good engines: driven, detailed, and dutiful.
Hire more of us, please!