Values & Attitudes
To forge a helping relationship, human services worker must possess attitudes and values that are congruent with the goal of providing assistance to the populations they serve. These attitudes and values are intrinsically connected to building a positive culture in the organization. While personal attitudes and values may seem separate from organizational values and attitudes this is not true since organizations are built on the character of people.
The values needed for human service work is often embedded in the organizations as a guiding ethical force. According to NOHS,
Understanding of values- All human service workers abide by values that are consistent and congruent with helping the client. These values are codified, in general, by codes of conduct and or ethics statements to which workers must abide (NOHS, 2020).
These values will include empathy, respect, and a desire to help improve the quality of life for the client. Through these values, worker attitudes are guided towards the forging the helping relationship. Values also help create positive attitudes necessary for human service work. Attitudes such as openness, objectivity, and willingness are fundamental to the helping relationship (Hasenfeld, 2010). Closed minds blind workers to solutions along with biases (Hasenfeld, 2010). According to New South Whales University,
One of the problems with our attitudes is we often ignore any information which is not consistent with them — we become selective in the way we perceive and respond to events and issues — and lose our ‘objectivity’ about the world. By developing insights about our attitudes we reduce the risk of making decisions at work based on our unconscious, pre-existing perceptions, allowing us work more professionally with clients (New South Whales University, 2009).
These values and attitudes I try to cultivate in myself, but I strongly believe that the organization is a large factor in the development of proper attitudes and values in workers. For example, one of the largest problems organizations suffer is bureaucratic inertia which often takes the form of maintaining the status quo and protecting the organization even at the expense of the client (Hasenfeld, 2010).
Poor attitudes and values can damage the helping relationship by instilling workers with bias and believe that things do not get better or change. This problem is prevalent throughout many government agencies and has proven to be a factor undermining the client (Hasenfeld, 2010). The US Post Office serves as a warning in this regard due to the problems experienced over time in which the culture of the agency promoted terrible attitudes and loss of values (Lee, 2011). Customers were underserved and poor attitudes and values ultimately led to violence (Lee, 2011).
As a human service worker, my attitude can directly impact the organization by providing a positive influx to agency culture. More importantly, maintaining the aforementioned values and attitudes provides a means to building and refining helping relationship skills. For me, this is a professional skill as well as a workplace expectation that needs to be honed across time. While I view this as a professional skill, I acknowledge the need for organizational effort. In opinion, most human service workers need strong leadership to fully actualize their skills that are derived in part from a culture focused on helping the client.
Hasenfeld, Y. (2010). Human services as complex organizations (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Thousand Oaks.
Lee, B. (2011). The U.S. Postal Service. Retrieved from PBS: http://www.pbs.org/wnet/need-to-know/five-things/the-u-s-postal-service/11433/
New South Whales University. (2009). Personal values, belief and attitudes. Retrieved from New South Whales University: https://sielearning.tafensw.edu.au/MCS/CHCAOD402A/chcaod402a_csw/knowledge/values/values.htm
NOHS. (2020). What is human services? Retrieved from National Organization for Human Services: https://www.nationalhumanservices.org/what-is-human-services
Vincent Triola. Thu, Mar 18, 2021. Necessary Values & Attitudes for Human Services Workers Retrieved from https://vincenttriola.com/blogs/ten-years-of-academic-writing/necessary-values-attitudes-for-human-services-workers