5 Reasons Why Leadership in Social Work is More Important than You Think

There are a couple of elements in social work that make leadership an imperative part of any position in the field. Leadership roles in social work come with the responsibility to work creatively and effectively with individuals, groups, organizations, and communities to promote social justice, address problems, and be a catalyst for positive change. Leadership is important in social work for a number of reasons:

  1. Communication. Leaders in social work need to know how to effectively communicate with different groups of people. Through communication, leaders establish a mutual respect, acceptance, and trust with their clients and colleagues. Also, communication is extremely important in interpreting the mission of the profession to the public. (Leadership Definition and Elements)



2. Values & Ethics. Part of a leader’s role is to activate the values of the profession, demonstrate ethical behavior, and further the goals of the profession. The National Association of Social Workers has established a Code of Ethics that represents the values that social work stands for. These core values include: service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity, and competence. (NASW Code of Ethics)


3. Vision. It is important for leaders in social work to have a vision and constantly be working towards that vision. Leaders must be willing and able to translate their visions to goals and encourage others to want to achieve these goals. They must also be able to understand and forecast future directions. #GOALS. (Leadership Definition and Elements)


4. Teamwork and Collaboration. A leader is responsible for using supervision and consultation appropriate to social work practice, in addition to the responsibilities listed above. They establish effective relationships that facilitate planned change and advances in visions. Leaders are expected to treat colleagues with respect and accurately represent the qualifications, views, and obligations of colleagues. Forming these relationships makes a leader’s job much more meaningful, and a whole lot easier. (Leadership Definition and Elements)200-3.gif

5. Empowerment. As a leader, it is always important to empower both your clients and your colleagues. Improving the circumstances of your clients and encouraging the best work from your colleagues are two important aspects that comes with authority. (Leadership Definition and Elements)


Works Cited:

N. (n.d.). Code of Ethics. Retrieved from https://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp

U. (n.d.). Leadership Definition and Elements. Retrieved February, 2016, from https://ssw.unc.edu/files/web/pdf/LeadershipDefinitionandElements.pdf
John Vassello, Week 2 Leadership Powerpoint.


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