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How to Lead a Neurodiverse Team

How to Lead a Neurodiverse Team is a brand-new course which we are launching in Autumn 2023.

There has been a huge increase in the awareness of neurodiversity across the globe, with a corresponding increase in understanding, acceptance and inclusion. This has led to more neurodivergent people speaking out and feeling less like they need to ‘mask’ their differences by acting in a more neurotypical way.

This course aims to raise candidates’ awareness around neurodiversity and the benefits it can bring to a workplace, as well as how to successfully support a neurodivergent person to achieve their full potential at work.

Please contact the training team to be added to the waiting list for this course.

What is neurodiversity?

Neurodivergent is a term used to describe someone whose brain functioning is not neurotypical, or ‘average’. It is an umbrella term which encompasses any person diagnosed with a neurological condition, such as autism, dyslexia, dyspraxia, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and more.

Neurodiversity is the concept that these brain differences are natural variations, that we are all different and that these differences are not deficits or impairments.

Why is it important to understand neurodiversity in a team?

Having a neurodiverse workforce has huge benefits; diversity is key to the development of any organisation and neurodivergent employees often have highly desirable skills and attributes. They can empower a workplace, encouraging creativity through their new ideas, fresh perspective and ‘outside the box’ thinking.

However, as with any team member, it is important to be able to recognise individual strengths and weaknesses and understand any challenges they may face. This will enable you to support them to be comfortable and successful at work.

The Equality Act 2020 states that employers have a duty to make reasonable adjustments to support people with disabilities within the workplace. However, this is only a legal obligation when a formal diagnosis has been provided; it is highly likely that there are many more neurodivergent people within their workplace who have not been diagnosed, or perhaps do not realise it. Raising awareness and becoming a more inclusive workplace will potentially help these employees to develop too.

How do we understand what reasonable adjustments might be needed?

Probably the simplest answer here is just to ask. Everybody is different and neurodivergence can take many forms.

Enabling a neurodivergent candidate to thrive in the workplace will not only benefit them, but everybody within that workplace too. Some simple adjustments which can be made include:

Physical adjustments to accommodate any sensory needs

  • Noise levels and seating arrangements – open plan offices are commonplace, but can create a lot of background noise and be highly distracting. Consider noise-cancelling headphones, a workspace in a quieter area or even an individual office.
  • Lighting – bright office lights and the glare from screens can contribute to sensory overload. Consider a workspace in an area with more natural light and anti-glare screen protectors.
  • Information presentation – consider font type and size, and colour schemes used on both screen and printed documents. Changing the colour of text and/or background can make reading easier.

Clear communication

  • Consider the different ways information can be communicated – verbal, written, images, face-to-face – and how it is structured
  • Set clear targets and timeframes for project planning
  • Highlight important or relevant points in a document
  • Explicitly prioritise tasks that an individual needs to action
  • Provide information in advance of a meeting
  • Provide clear instructions and break tasks down into easy steps
  • Follow up any verbal instructions or phone calls with an email so that people have something to refer back to
  • Avoid sarcasm and implied messages
  • Ensure equipment such as photocopiers have visible instructions near to the equipment.
  • Where possible, communicate in advance if plans are changing
  • Clearly communicate the ‘unwritten rules’ of the workplace; don’t assume these will be automatically picked up

As a manager, having a supportive, flexible approach plays a huge part in ensuring neurodivergent employees have a positive workplace experience. Through understanding, communication and regular feedback, employers can shake off the stigma and stereotyping previously associated with neurodivergence and help their employees to reach their full potential.

Further Courses and Training

How to Lead a Neurodiverse Team is designed as a broad overview and understanding of neurodivergence in the workplace. However, we are also able to offer more specialist courses such as Leading Autistic Colleagues launching in the Autumn.

Article by Naomi Wistow, Training Advisor

To reserve a space on this course and to find out more information contact or call 01427 420 405


The information and any commentary contained within these updates are for general information purposes only and do not constitute legal or any other type of professional advice. Stallard Kane does not accept and, to the extent permitted by law, exclude liability to any person for any loss which may arise from relying upon or otherwise using the information contained in these blogs. If you have a particular query or issue, you are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice about your issue and not to rely solely on the information or comments in these updates.
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