Developing Your Relationship With Your Employer

Young man with Down's Syndrome with support worker, arms around each other, looking to camera

This is going to be a key factor in you enjoying your job and also in wanting to keep going in your job. While you can’t necessarily predict what kind of person your employer is, you can decide yourself how you are going to act/react. Having personal boundaries in place is a necessary first step. You want to be open and friendly with your employer, but he/she is not going to be your best friend that you confide in; nor do you need to get involved in their problems. On paper, this sounds a bit harsh but you are not there to solve problems rather to support the person to solve their own problems. You are also not there to offload your own problems onto your employer, so it’s necessary to be professional in your approach.

Having a non-confrontational approach will probably be useful in maintaining a smooth relationship. Some actions or comments are not meant to be taken personally but even if they are, you can choose to ignore them. If you feel your employer’s behaviour is inappropriate, then you might have to seek help in how to approach this. Seeing your job and yourself as professional can help you take a step back from a difficult situation and allow you to seek help like any other professional person.

A good sense of humour also can’t be over rated. An ability to laugh at yourself and with your employer will lighten lots of situations. Ideally you want to enjoy your job and be able to have fun and laugh together.

Being reliable and trustworthy are important. No matter how nice you are, your employer won’t want someone who doesn’t turn up on time or who lets them down at short notice or who takes advantage of them.

Kindness and a willingness to learn are also on my list of key ingredients to a good relationship. You are there to support your employer to live their own life, not to judge them for their choices or their way of doing things. It can help to imagine how you would explain to someone how to support you to get dressed, for example, and you realise you are just as fussy as your employer. So being willing to learn their way of doing things and then doing it, is important, with kindness.

Next steps

Take a look at the article on ‘Managing your Working Relationship’ for more information.

Part of
Last Updated
22 June 2022
First Published
01 April 2022
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Disclaimer

Please note that the information contained in this Handbook is provided for guidance purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Self Directed Support Scotland or any other contributing party.

The information does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal and professional advice from a lawyer about employment law matters, or an accountant/ tax specialist about taxation matters, and from HMRC and your insurers. You should not rely solely on the information in this Handbook. Support organisations listed in this Handbook can help you find appropriate sources of advice.