by Marisa Bordowitz


  1. What distinguishes leadership in social work from leadership in other professions, might you ask? A study was conducted examining how leaders within the National Association of Social Workers and the Council on Social Work Education recognize social work leadership. 77 % of participants believed social work leadership differed from that of other practices. The 5 major distinctions are: (1) Social workers must abide by the NASW Code of Ethics which means their interpersonal relationships with clients must entail commitment, cultural competence, etc. (2) Social workers observe a systematic perspective which means a plan is involved! (3) Their leadership style is both more “participatory” or inclusive and (4) “altruistic”. They identify as the sole profession advocating for oppressed persons; and (5) There is a concern for the field’s public reputation/image.  (Rank & Hutchinson, 2000, p. 487, 493)
  2. giphy.gifSocial work leadership has been limited by the great divide between nonprofit realm and the sector of private practice. Often the reigns of leadership have been dominated by bureaucracy (and overly involved with issues of expense rather than “organizational psychology”). The budgetary constraints and differences imposed by government in a sense, eliminated leadership for social workers. (Vassello, J.D., 2016)
  3. Speaking of government dominance in social work leadership, the Affordable care act is driving the reform of Medicaid. Because people now have more access to health care, Medicaid must be reformed (Otherwise, financial issues will transpire). (Leahey, MSW, 2015)                                            giphy-1.gif
  4. Flexibility and adaptability = KEY! A board (NASW) influences social workers in leadership positions. Plans, policies, programs and individual agendas are liable to change. Additionally, to be a successful leader, one must be able to work both independently as well as with a team. (Grobman, 2012, p. 326-327)200-3.gif
  5. Attention ladies! Are you interested in a profession in leadership? Collaborate and connect with other females. It appears that was the way to female leadership in the profession’s “formative “years. (Jabour, 2012. p. 23)200w.gif
  6. Sophonisba Preston Breckenridge truly exemplified female leadership. Her advancements in particular can be attributed to relationships with other women. She challenged reforms (even those in contradiction with one another), immersing herself in virtually everything from protective legislation for women employees to civil rights for African Americans. Shockingly enough, Breckenridge’s work has gone widely unrecognized.  (Jabour, 2012. p. 23-25) url
  7. How do you move up the ladder in the social work profession, become involved with leadership (and perhaps tackle the administration field)? SPEAK UP! (or forever hold your peace). Be clear about your prospects from the beginning. (Leahey, MSW, 2015)url



Jabour, A. (2012). Relationship and Leadership: Sophonisba Breckenridge and Women in Social Work. Journal of Women and Social Work, 27(1), 22-37. Retrieved February 4, 2016

Rank, M., & Hutchinson, W. (2000) An analysis of leadership within the social work profession. Journal of Social Education, 36(3), 487-502

Grobman, L. (2012). Days in the Lives of Social Workers (4th ed.)


Other References:

Leahey, K. February 2, 2016

Vassello, J., 2016 Week 2: Leadership


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s