3 Engaging with professional leadership
The influential Laming Report (Laming, 2003, p. 10) emphasised the need for ‘robust’ and ‘strong’ leadership. The way in which social work is managed and led has a significant impact on outcomes for service users and on the wellbeing and effectiveness of practitioners.
What does the word ‘leadership’ mean to you? Perhaps at this stage of your social work career you find it difficult to engage with this concept. A helpful idea is that leadership is not confined to managers, but is also concerned with influencing practice and supporting the development of other people. As a social work student you are expected to develop initial leadership ability. This could be through taking your ideas to supervision; contributing to team building and learning or initiating a constructive dialogue about your concerns. Critical practitioners will continually examine and develop their leadership skills in their work, even when they are not specifically designated as leaders or managers in their organisation.