Like almost anyone else, breaking into the subject or field of leadership presents itself as a significant challenge. With many responsibilities to consider and to fulfill, an exemplary leader must have confident power in communication, creativity, competence, ethics, organization, and decisions, just to name a few. Unfortunately, most youth and adults with Aspergers Syndrome often have difficulty in any one of these things. Typically, they desire to be able to learn from others, rather than lead by example themselves for the same reasons that most people fail to become leaders. Often times, they fear failure, rejection, or unfamiliar tasks and responsibilities, or all of these things.


However, the myth that leaders are born, rather than made, is untrue and many prominent leaders throughout history dispelled it time and time again.

Primarily because most of them faced significant (sometimes extreme) odds to get to their current positions and to form the amazing personal images that they have. Many Aspergers youth and adults can take it upon themselves to work hard to achieve such standout images for themselves.

Initially, entering the leadership arena sounds difficult. Here are a few suggestions to get started:

1. Establish a conceptual foundation in your own mind:

To understand the keywords of quality leadership; understand how you can embrace them; realize the mistakes you make and learn from them as you progress.

2. Study communication tactics and picture yourself using them:

How do you look (appearance to others) and sound when you communicate? The best communicators prepare and deliver their messages well. If a message provides aid, insight in a necessary, moral, and honest manner, it will serve its purpose. Also, use your own feelings to acknowledge if a message has complete clarity and usefulness or if it requires modification. The next step helps with this process.

3. Develop power and structure statements:

Statements of order and encouragement from others are always useful, no matter who devises them. On the other hand, the best leaders devise such statements by themselves for themselves and put them to good use in any situation. The following are some examples; just fill in the blanks:

“I want to make a difference in                 because I believe                .”

“The obstacles I face in this situation are               and my strategies to overcome them are                .”

                are the tools that I AM CERTAIN will work here and I will use them by doing                .”

               is what I wish to accomplish when I play the leader in this situation.”

“I will make positive, impactful change by                 .”

4. Be creative:

Use statements such as, “The unique aspects of this event/initiative that I will introduce are                and these will make the event and I stand out.” The Aspergers mind wanders and the subconscious flow of thought that results from such wandering produces ideas. The Aspergers individual only has to catch those ideas and make something of each of them. Then, they can see if those thoughts interconnect to form a defined construct or vision. When the individual ties in a construct with his/her passion or leadership roles, s/he will enhance his/her leadership quality and make progress in that role.

5. Undertake challenges in any way you can:

Expand your abilities and the scope of your leadership to cultivate an outstanding personal image and reputation and enjoy their benefits. For example, if an Aspergers individual has trouble communicating via phone or email and those serve as the only two ways to communicate in a given instant, the Aspergers individual deserves to practice those methods. Pre-established criteria and at least one solid goal for communication significantly help with this process. Refer back to step 2 and use it as a reference point.

6. Never stop improving everything:

There is always room for improvement and new things to learn; just make sure to not get too caught up in self-improvement. Every opportunity presents unfamiliar challenges. Take them to keep building skills and to keep growing as a leader!

by Reese Eskridge

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  1. I seriously don’t think it is fair to inflict a Manager with Aspergers Syndrome on subservient personnel.
    My personal experience involving “dispute resolution’ has proved this to me.

  2. I think it depends on your definition of leadership…..Just to name a few people to consider in history and current: Bill Gates, Marie-Curie, Steve Jobs (Former CEO of Apple), Alexis Wineman (First Miss America and model with confirmed Aspergers), Henry Ford, and the list goes on. People with high functioning autism may have challenges socially or in other areas, but I don’t believe it impedes effective leadership. Leadership is a concept of being that inspires others to follow. I believe individuals with high functioning autism can develop and grow in leadership skills and become great leaders. If the definition of leadership is an extrovert that networks, that loves people, that is outgoing (which is how many see leaders), I would say you found an extrovert that may be naturally inclined to be perceived as a natural leader (they still possibly could be), however, I don’t believe this takes persons with autistic characteristics out of the leadership frame of possibilities. These individuals CAN BE LEADERS!

    1. And in regard to politics, if taught, I believe they can learn the science behind politics. This is a challenge, not an impossibility. I speak from experience. Aspergers is prevalent in my family (every generation), and I (having Aspergers) have attained leadership positions as well as have higher aspirations of leadership. Yes, politics is difficult for me, but every day I learn more and more of the science behind it, and I become better in navigating the political arena.

  3. aspies CANNOT BE LEADERS. they can succeed in making money or building and running their own business. But they cannot do politics. they cannot be leaders in public administrations or institutes. From my own experience as an aspie it is impossible. Neurotypical are highly competitive and do have the social skill to do such jobs.

    1. I realize my comment is being posted years after yours, but I’m replying to you anyways, in case any other aspies come across this page.

      Don’t ever tell people what they can and cannot be. I’m an aspie and a leader in public administration. It takes a lot of hard work, and sometimes I still find myself in new, and extremely uncomfortable, social situations but it CAN be accomplished. The moment you tell yourself you can’t do something, you have doomed yourself to failure.

      1. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR COMMENT!!! I had to read that post twice because I couldn’t believe someone would say that. It is a mindset and it does take longer to accomplish things, but it can be done. I am working on my 4th degree, after being told I would never be a college graduate.

    2. I absolutely agree. My ASD spouse is harsh, critical and raging therefore his position as owner/manager is destroying the company morale.

    3. I know you relied a long time ago, but I’d like you to know you’re wrong. I’m autistic and currently a nurse leader on a clinical ladder to next move up to manager, CNO, etc. Is it easy? No. Not by any means, but it’s not impossible either.

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