Skip to 0 minutes and 3 secondsAvoiding persona sources of conflict. Conflicts can occur when a PA is not very good at their job or because an employer has a poor style of management or lacks assertiveness. It can also occur when there's a mismatch of personalities or values. We might call these 'personal' sources of conflict. One obvious area is where the PA or the disabled person is racist, sexist or homophobic, or holds incompatible views on a contentious area, like Brexit, or Scottish independence. We all have different values or beliefs, for example, religious and spiritual views, and even competing sporting allegiances.

Skip to 0 minutes and 45 secondsAssuming these views are not highly extreme and offensive, it doesn't usually stop people being colleagues but it might stop them being friends unless they agree to avoid difficult topics. If the disabled person and personal assistant have a formal staff/employer type relationship, this mightn't be an issue because there's little place for personal disclosure. but if the relationship is more like paid friend or even, family, then there may be difficulties because of the greater openness and informality. Sometimes, for personal reasons or simply because of their personality, one person may disclose their private thoughts or feelings more than the other. This can cause tensions if not addressed appropriately.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsIs it appropriate for a PA to express his or her views in their employer's home? How easy might it be to depress your own views to avoid conflict occurring but it might also be a difference of personality type. For example, a PA may work for someone who's mean and angry and they might find this very traumatic. However, when they discuss the problem with their employer she explains that her anger is due to anxiety. Despite the explanation, the worker is unable to continue in her role as PA with this individual. Of course, this could also happen the other way round when the PA behaviour was troubling to the employer.

Skip to 2 minutes and 6 secondsDifferences may be much less dramatic but still, people might feel unable to get along with each other long term. The practical issue for the PA relationship is - how do you take someone else's values and preferences into account with out sacrificing your own?

Introduction to Avoiding 'Personal' Sources of Conflict

Conflict can occur when a PA is not very good at their job or because an employer has a poor style of management, or lacks assertiveness. But it can also occur when there is a mismatch of personalities or values. We might call these ‘personal’ sources of conflict.

One obvious area is where the PA or the disabled person is racist, sexist or homophobic, or holds incompatible views on a contentious area like Brexit or Scottish Independence. We all have different values and beliefs. For example, religious and spiritual views, and even competing sporting allegiances. Assuming these views are not highly extreme and offensive, this does not usually stop people being colleagues. But it might stop people being friends, unless they agree to avoid contentious areas.

If the disabled person and personal assistant have a formal staff/employer type relationship, this might not be an issue, because there is little place for personal disclosure. But if the relationship is more like ‘paid friend’ or even ‘family’, then there may be difficulties, because of the greater openness and informality. Sometimes, because the disabled person is isolated, they may seek friendship and ‘over-disclose’ private thoughts and feelings to their PA.

Is it appropriate for a PA to express his or her views in their employers’ home? How easy might it be to suppress your own views to avoid conflict occurring?

But it may also be a difference of personality type. For example, a PA may work for someone who is mean and angry, and they might find this very traumatic. However, when they discuss the problem with their employer, she explains that her anger is due to anxiety. Despite the explanation, the worker is unable to continue in her role as PA with this individual. Or the differences may be less dramatic, but still, people feel unable to get along with each other.

The practical issue for the PA relationship is how do you take someone else’s values and preferences into account without sacrificing your own?

Share this video:

This video is from the free online course:

The Role of Personal Assistants in Disability Support

UEA (University of East Anglia)