Just as in any working relationship, we can’t expect personal assistance relationships to run smoothly all of the time. We’ll talk later about reconciling differences and mediation, when it’s needed.
A key principle is to respect difference – respect the personality and values of other people. Be prepared to accommodate difference, whether in personality, culture or lifestyle.
A key way to avoid conflict is to get the right ‘match’ in the first place. This means:
Vetting at the beginning of the PA role – understand your own expectations, values, and limitations; make these explicit; ask your potential worker or employer to do the same; seek to work with those with whom you have affinity.
Probation’ – a probationary period may help to 1) avoid practical conflict i.e. ‘make sure they can do the job’; and 2) avoid personal conflict ‘make sure we get on’.
Personal differences are more important the closer the relationship is. For a ‘staff’ type relationship, there is considerable privacy, and you are less likely to have a clash. When people become more friendly, they share more of their lives, and the differences between their values can become evident.