Establishing and Maintaining a Working Relationship


The working relationship you have with your staff starts at the interview and continues with a worker's induction and training.  These initial interactions set the tone for the relationship.  Establishing and maintaining good working relationships with your team involves effective use of interpersonal skills.

Whether you are engaging employees or contractors there will be a need to 'manage' them in regard to matters such as the expectations of the role and their commitment to meetings and professional development.  Your management style can set the tone and culture of the team.

In his story, My Quest, Will talks about the importance of meeting regularly with his lifestyle facilitators.  "I think communication is one of the big things that help these arrangements work.  We have regular team meetings.  Sometimes things come up that are not working properly for either me or for them.  I think it is important to clear the air straight away rather than let problems continue and get bigger.  These meetings are also good for brainstorming ideas."

Matters to consider in establishing and maintaining a positive working relationship include:

  • Establishing a management style that suits you and the team
  • Being clear about the communication methods you use with staff and how you want them to communicate with you
  • Setting clear expectations of their role and how it is to be performed
  • Being fair in management - treating workers equally
  • Listening to, and being open to, feedback
  • Focusing on issues rather than personalities
  • Showing respect for workers
  • Acknowledging achievements
  • Celebrating as a team

In her story, Leading my Life Though my Vision, Narissa Wilson talks about the importance of creating "a workplace culture with my employees that enhances our productivity, knowledge, willingness and overall happiness."

A conversation with Nadia Samperi covers a number of these same issues from the perspective of a person working as a lifestyle facilitator. 

Paying attention to the importance of a good working relationship will benefit both you and the people who work for you.  People who are happy in their roles are likely to stay longer.  This will mean reduced time and cost for you in recruitment.  Long term working relationships, supported by adequate professional development, can also result in people thinking creatively and taking more responsibility about how they can contribute to your plans for achieving your life goals and aspirations.

Who can help?

The booklet, A Guide to Engaging Your Own Support Workers, contains information about all aspects of engaging, inducting and working with staff.

Other useful articles are included in Issue 13 of Thinking About Paid Support which can be ordered from Belonging Matters in Victoria.   


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