Aspergers on the Job, Chapter 14

The fourteenth chapter of Aspergers on the Job is titled “The Power of Praise”.  Here are thoughts on Rudy Simone and discussion about this chapter. Stephanie is  one of the fantastic APC Coaches and Doug is the founder of APC.

Doug: The focus of this chapter was giving positive reinforcement to those with Asperger’s at work. I liked a couple of the tips that Rudy Simone suggested, which included:

  • If you find your employer’s approach to critiquing your work is causing you anxiety, you can ask him to do so in a more private and constructive way.
  • Try to understand where your boss is coming from if you receive negative feedback. You expect others to understand where you are coming from: a desire to improve, a quest for perfection. Understand that your boss wants the same thing and may have his his or her own communication issues. Try to work together to come up with a solution.

Stephanie: I think its important to receive positive reinforcement at work. I have heard from several clients that they find that information valuable because it makes them feel appreciated and it works as a motivational tool. One person I know has also stated that its helpful to receive any type of feedback from their supervisors when it is delivered in a kind and calm way (even if it’s not positive feedback). I think how the feedback is delivered is such an important part of the process. It is also important for that feedback to be specific. Instead of just saying “good job” its helpful for the employee to hear what specifically they did that was great (i.e., “You did a great job inputting the data on the spreadsheet and getting it turned in on time”).

Doug: I definitely think it can be crucial how you give the feedback. Like you said, being specific and calm is really important.  I think the calmness can be crucial because those on the spectrum are extra sensitive beings and the more excited or intense you regarding the criticism the less likely you are to be heard. I have found that if you start the critique off with something positive then give the criticism that can be a very helpful strategy as well.

There were some good questions at the end of the chapter such as: 1) How do you respond to praise? 2) How does it feel to give it? 3) What sorts of reactions do you get from people when you are positive as opposed to critical?

Stephanie: I have seen similar results when giving critiques the way you mentioned it above. I think the other issue involving giving feedback is that on the job site, it is not given enough. I was recently shadowing a client at their job because the client was having some difficulties at work. When I asked the employer if he could give quick, weekly evaluations to help the client understand their strengths/weaknesses, the employer said he didn’t have enough time to do that due to the demands of his job. While I understand that employers often don’t have a ton of time to do evaluations, I also think they are essential and its time well spent. I think that if this particular employer would agree to spend 15 minutes a week giving feedback that it would save him a lot of time putting out fires and dealing with the concerns he has over my client’s performance. It’s always better to be proactive instead of reactive. Unfortunately, not everyone sees it that way.


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