Supporting and developing resilience in social work
Supporting and developing resilience in social work

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Supporting and developing resilience in social work

3.2 Influencing the practice of others

In Activity 5 you explore the idea that leadership can also be demonstrated by people who are not managers, in the sense of influencing the practice of others.

Activity 5 Leadership qualities and skills for social workers

Allow about 15 minutes

Part A

Write two suggestions about how you can contribute to leadership in your workplace.

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Comment

The material you have read so far may have prompted you to identify personal and professional qualities arising from everyday social work practice which – directly or indirectly – help to develop leadership.

Part B

Audios 4–6 give you a chance to hear June, Sophie and Roseann’s views on how the concepts of leadership and management can help social workers in everyday practice.

Audio 4: June Sadd

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JUNE SADD:
If we look at leadership, it’s a word I think, that is misunderstood because, for me, leadership is actually about enabling others, so you are a leader if you can actually facilitate and enable others to actually be part of decision-making, all of those things, so a leader is thought always to be rather like somebody out at the front making all the decisions and I don’t think that’s right. I think the enabling role of a leader is more important. I think social work students need to understand that and practitioners need to be understand that. You are leading if you’re enabling, I think also that the need to develop leadership and management skills because they are managing caseloads. They are managing working with other agencies. They are managing in difficult situations, and so if they were practitioners who weren’t used to being able to think about management and not being helped to do that, I think that would limit them. They would be so task-focused that they would just be filling in forms and, actually, they need to show leadership and management skills to the other professionals. They can be chairing a child-in-need conference. They can be involved in child protection conferences. They can be involved in mental health tribunals, type of work and, actually, they need to be able to show leadership and management in those situations. So, not just working in a little bubble, social work bubble, there’s a wider world out there, and I think actually that leadership skill of enabling can support their work with service users. They can enable people to develop their own thinking, develop their own responsibility, all of those things, develop their solutions, so leadership’s important.
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Audio 5: Sophie Terrill

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SOPHIE TERRILL:
I think there is an expectation that all social workers have leadership skills, and I think it’s important to recognise that you can be a leader without being a manager. Sometimes, if you’ve worked in a team with someone who is particularly good at motivating you and motivating your colleagues, then you can maybe attribute them a leadership role even though they might not be in a manager role, and that’s a really important part for all of us as social workers to remember because we are quite reliant on our colleagues and those around us in sometimes keeping us going through some really difficult situations
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Audio 6: Roseann Connolly

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ROSEANN CONNOLLY:
There’s a difference between being a manager and a leader. It’s not to say that the two can’t exist in the same person, they can. Being a leader is somebody who promotes and evokes an emotional response almost; that they cultivate you as a person, and you want to emulate them, you want to be like that person, you agree with what their aims are, their ambitions. I think that they’re inspirational. I think that you can learn to be a manager. I think you can learn some leadership skills but some of it is probably innate.
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Going further: management, leadership and change

You can find further materials about leadership in the following OpenLearn free course: Groups and teamwork [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] .

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