TestBash Leadership 2022 - Managing People with Autism with Eva Podbrdská

@baysha : You might be managing people who are on the autism spectrum. You might be a manager who is on the spectrum. You might be on the spectrum and managed by somebody. Or you just want to learn a bit about autism.

We’ll use this Club thread to share resources mentioned during the session and answer any questions we don’t get to during the live session.

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Looking forward to all the answers to the questions asked. Also need to keep an eye out when the recording will be available :bookmark:

Questions Answered Live:

  1. @scottkenyon - Hello I’m Scott and I’m also Autistic, have you found your leadership style has changed or evolved since understanding your autism?
  2. @deborahreid - How can we encourage managers to do training in managing people with different needs (be that autism, anxiety etc)?
  3. @chopper - Do you feel it would have helped your career to have been diagnosed with autism earlier in life?
  4. Anonymous - How do you go about a diagnosis if you’re not sure if you are autistic/have autism?
  5. @neutcomp - Does it help to be more direct with giving orders/tasks?
  6. @christophermclellan - Hi Eva, when interviewing candidates for testing roles, what do you believe are the things I should look out for If I didn’t know if a candidate was autistic?
  7. @brgibb - Do you find that your autism influences your own preferred way to test? For example manual test cases or Exploratory / Ad hoc or purely coding approaches?


Questions Not Answered Live:

  1. @zoltan.ertekes - How can you manage interviews from both side? It would be hard when you are forced to talk.
  2. Anonymous - Is eye contact really something other than looking at just one of the eyes? I had no idea! (also autistic here)
  3. @pmichielsen - For a person with (diagnosed) autism or ADHD, do you think they should disclose that to their employer (perhaps already during recruitment)?

Fortunately not that hard for me - I have a high verbal intelligence so that more or less compensates for my autism. So I’m not really a typical autistic person in that regard. Obviously my anxiety is high during an interview (as it was during this talk) but I usually realise it only after the interview - that’s when the anxiety and mental exhaustion hits.
Also, preparation and overpreparation helps a lot.


Yes! I do have very brief moments (mostly just split-seconds) of actual eye contact with my son so I can say from personal experience that it’s something qualitatively very different.


That depends. If you’re in a position where you’re able to choose an employer who’s enlightened, accepting and willing to learn, do it and if the interviewers reject you because of that, celebrate that you’ve dodged a bullet and move on to the next interview. But not everybody has such luxury. If you feel it might endanger your position because of all the misconceptions that are around autism and other neurodiversities, don’t disclose. You can still advocate for your specific needs even without disclosing your diagnosis.


One thing I’d like to add to what I said on the live Q&A. What has changed for me is that I’m much more accepting of peoples’ differences. Before my diagnosis I’ve held not only myself, but also others to this insane “perfect human” standard. Now that I know I’m different, I’ve learned not only to accept that everybody is different, but to actually celebrate our differences and the different strengths they bring to the team/society/community.


Amazing. Thanks for the great answer

Everybody, feel free to post other questions here or send me a PM on Slack!