Do Cloverleaf’s assessments help with understanding neurodiversity?

While we don’t directly ask individuals about neurodiversity, the mix of assessments on the platform allows us to cover many of the behaviors and work preferences of neurodivergent individuals.

But first off, what is neurodiversity?

According to Harvard Health, neurodiversity is “the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many different ways.”

As for how the Cloverleaf assessments apply, consider the example of a user who has Autism. This diagnosis manifests differently for each person. Let’s assume that for this autistic person, he or she is relatively anti-social around people he or she doesn’t know and is somewhat reclusive. These behaviors would present themselves as being very low or high on one or more of the existing assessments (e.g., very low on I of DISC, very high on I of 16 types, very low on approachability of culture pulse, etc.)

We haven’t yet done a large research project to map each neurodiverse category to specific assessments scores. Eventually, with the guidance and approval of an institutional review board, we could pursue such a project in order to help contribute to understanding this important question. Such a project would also help ensure we’re not missing anything behaviorally. But at a high level, it does appear that our assessments have many different types of neurodiverse behaviors that are already being covered. (Additional examples include but are not limited to Aspergers, ADHD, dyslexia, and dyspraxia.)

Why not offer assessments that specifically address neurodiversity? 

Assessments can help uncover neurodiverse diagnoses, but these diagnoses need to be paired with behavioral observations and conversations with a medical professional. Additionally, it would be problematic to track such diagnoses in a platform where others would potentially have access to such information, because it might accidentally facilitate discrimination and/or biases. Our platform is purposefully neutral such that no one is targeted as “good” or “bad,” but just different.

Overall, I think that Cloverleaf helps facilitate the conversations that really need to happen among neurodiverse employees (and in many cases, the conversations these employees are afraid to have). Instead of neurodiverse people needing to explain their neurodiversity, all parties can instead focus on preferences and behavior (i.e., how they like to complete tasks and work with others). In other words, the reason why someone behaves a certain way shouldn’t matter (i.e., neurodiversity). What matters is that they do behave a certain way and that all parties should work better together to accommodate those tendencies and preferences.

Learn how to make Cloverleaf your coaching partner to understand the individuals and teams that you work with, drive conversations and even training sessions.

What makes the most successful teams? Google studied hundreds of their teams to find the answer. Leaders assumed it had to do with grouping like-minded individuals, or matching top performers. They were wrong. 

The number one most important factor in the top performing teams? Psychological safety. 

According to Google’s researchers, Psychological Safety means team members feel safe to take risks, admit mistakes, ask questions, and throw out new ideas, without fear of negative consequences or “being seen as ignorant, incompetent, negative, or disruptive.” 

Now think about where you work…

Is There Room for Curiosity and Authenticity?

To Be Curious

When the pressure is on, we “just” have to get it done/right/fixed/faster/stronger/better. We don’t have the freedom to consider different perspectives and asking questions doesn’t seem like the best solution either. 

Or do we?

Pressure is a curiosity killer. When that teammate disagrees with you, do you feel the pressure to prove yourself, or to convince your teammate of your perspective? When your project didn’t get the expected results, or your customer is upset, or you’re struggling to finish that thing… Do you feel the pressure to “just know” or “just get it done”? 

OR do you feel the freedom to be curious about what your team member’s perspective is, what you missed in planning the project, what is truly important to your customer, who could be the most helpful, etc?

The truth is, it is your choice.

So the next time you feel the pressure is on, try choosing curiosity. It might just open your mind to a better way to get it done/right/fixed/faster/stronger/better.

In a safe environment with psychological safety, curiosity can be a gateway to greater ideas and understanding, not a barrier to getting work done or having autonomy.

To Be Authentic

If you are who you are, why is it hard to be yourself? Why do we have phrases like “you do you” “be true to yourself” and “know thyself?” 

Unfortunately, there are socialized pressures to act in certain ways and can lead to a lack of psychological safety. 

“Leaders know what to say,” “promotions go to those who speak up,” “only ask ‘intelligent’ questions,” and “put your head down and work”… Different life experiences give us a shared belief that certain traits get rewarded, so we morph to try to perform.

But the world needs who YOU authentically are, not the status quo. You are wired to think in a certain way, see a certain perspective, and address problem-solving in a distinctly valuable way.

When we try to hide or morph these characteristics, our work drains us, and the world misses out on what we have to offer. 

That’s why you receive coaching tips on your unique wiring. We hope that over time, these help you to see opportunities to lean into your authentic self, so that you can be more satisfied in your work, and so that we all benefit from you, being you.

What are some ways you can start being your full, true self at work?

a circle shows two different coaching tips from Cloverleaf

Take Action

Cloverleaf is built to foster this psychological safety. We know that the most impactful work depends on being able to respectfully disagree, openly share seemingly divergent ideas, and through it all, appreciate each teammate’s humanity and unique strengths. We need each other’s differences to help us do our best work collectively in a safe workplace that encourages interpersonal risk-taking.

If you want to increase your team’s psychological safety, check out this TEDx talk by Harvard researcher Amy Edmondson. In the talk, Edmondson offers practical steps any team member can implement in their work environments. Edmondson even wrote the book The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth: another valuable resource to serve you well as you navigate this topic.

Here’s to doing our best work together!

In this blog post, Cloverleaf’s Chief Research Officer, Dr. Scott Dust, discusses cognitive diversity. He explains research findings from his published work in Personnel Psychology, offers key take-aways for maximizing cognitive diversity, and then explains how Cloverleaf can help facilitate the process of cognitive diversity.

In leadership and team building settings we’ve all been taught to embrace cognitive diversity. But how does cognitive diversity help? And how do we pinpoint and leverage cognitive diversity? My co-authors and I recently published a paper in Personnel Psychology that addresses these questions.

Across two studies, using a total of 520 manager-employee dyads, we found that manager-employee cognitive diversity improves employee creativity. As diverse teams become more divergent on risk orientation, employees’ intellectual stimulation increased, which in turn increased their creativity.

Risk orientation—the tendency to take or avoid risks when making decisions or problem-solving —is commonly thought to be a precursor to creativity. Importantly, it didn’t matter as much whether managers or employees were high or low on risk orientation. What did matter was that the manager and employee were different on risk orientation.

Also interesting is that employees’ perceptions of their managers determined whether the intellectual stimulation stemming from cognitive diversity was realized.

When employees’ perceived that their managers were genuinely interested in and open to their perspectives and ideas, the beneficial impact of cognitive diversity was enhanced. Alternatively, when employees’ perceived that their manager was uninterested in their perspectives and ideas, the benefits of cognitive diversity disappeared.

The take-aways of this research are three-fold:

(1)   When two people work together that have a diversity of thought it facilitates intellectual stimulation, which entails rethinking assumptions and considering problems in new ways.

(2)   When people experience intellectual stimulation it facilitates the generation of novel yet useful ideas and initiatives (i.e., creativity).

(3)   The benefits of cognitive diversity in the work environment will only be realized when we perceive that the other party is genuinely open to our ideas and perspectives.

A key objective of the Cloverleaf platform is to enhance the likelihood that colleagues can capitalize on the benefits of cognitive diversity. To facilitate this process, we developed what is called the “Thinking Styles Comparison.”

On Cloverleaf’s team dashboard the user can select an assessment (e.g., DiSC, Instinctive Drives) and a team member comparison target. The user is then given a succinct report that helps them see how they can capitalize on their thinking style differences.

Cognitive diversity is important in work environments. At Cloverleaf, our goal is to help users make the most of these diverse viewpoints. Our hope is that this will lead to amazing teams that are not only more productive and make better decisions, but appreciate and respect each other’s different perspectives.

Liu, H., Dust, S. B., Xu, M., & Ji, Y. (forthcoming). Leader–follower risk orientation incongruence, intellectual stimulation, and creativity: A configurational approach. Personnel Psychology.