The neurodivergent manager

How to navigate and succeed in a managerial role while being neurodivergent and introverted, including strategies for managing social interactions and planning for recovery time after meetings.

Lucas A. Meyer


August 17, 2021

You can be a people manager if you are #neurodivergent and an #introvert. I am.

I spend a lot of my time talking to people. Most of them don’t know that I’m neurodivergent and an introvert. Instead, I have been described as example of an extrovert and “avid networker”.

The easiest way to notice my neurodivergency is that I rarely make eye contact. When I do, it’s because my conscious mind reminded me that I’m not making eye contact and pushed me to do it. It takes effort and concentration. That doesn’t help me as an interviewee. When I’m an interviewer, I tell people that I like taking copious notes (because it’s true) and this usually sets them at ease with my lack of eye contact.

I also suffer from “meeting recovery syndrome”, a concept I learned about in the book “The Surprising Science of Meetings”. After meeting people, especially a large group, I need some time alone to recover, usually by being alone for at least 15 minutes.

By knowing these things about myself, I can plan around them better. For example, I book time to work on an individual project (e.g., writing a promotion document) after a large meeting, and book breaks after small meetings. And I can have the career I chose and love even if I don’t fit the mold of most other people in that role.