I'm managing a colleague who is on the Autism spectrum. I find it quite challenging.
For example, he's really inflexible. We have some regular tasks we perform, which aren't very important in the short run, and some urgencies we need to solve immediately. (I mean urgencies that are quite planned - we know we have several every week and which should be solved during work hours; I don't mean urgencies where you need to stay till midnight - that's absolutely not expected).
He's totally unable to prioritize and chooses to work on the unimportant regular tasks, which he could easily deal with later when everybody only thinks about solving a huge emergency that has just occurred.
He protests when I ask him directly to focus on the emergency and to leave the regular, repetitive task for later. He then does the regular task first and then caters for the emergency.
He needs to help with solving the "urgencies". Unfortunately, it's not possible for me to leave it for the rest of the team.
Also, he has huge difficulties communicating, taking everything totally literally. I've tried adjusting my communication to always be as accurate as possible and try to predict what can be misunderstood to clarify it before a misunderstanding happens. But there's always this tiny thing I didn't predict anyone can misunderstand and this is the point the colleague will misunderstand.
I've tried talking to him, encouraging him to ask questions if he's not sure whether he understood it correctly. I always ask him if he understands what the task is about and he always confirms. I repeat everything several times, also in writing. And then he does something that has nothing to do with what was expected or needed.
He's smart and a really friendly person but working with him is difficult. What can I do to communicate effectively with him and teach him to prioritize?