Leadership in Social Work
Social work tends to attract compassionate and empathetic people with a strong desire to help improve the lives of others. Social workers have a keen sense of social justice and a commitment to making life better for vulnerable individuals and communities.
Some social workers also aspire to leadership and an opportunity to work developing effective programs and policies that benefit disadvantaged communities. Leadership is a natural fit for social workers with the drive and ambition to make substantial, positive societal changes.
Earning an online Bachelor of Arts in Social Work degree is an excellent starting point for those seeking to develop strong leadership skills for social work. Graduates from the online BA in Social Work at Touro University Worldwide leave the program ready to help individuals, families, groups, and communities with a focus on community advocacy and social policy. They also establish the foundation for expanding their leadership skills in a graduate program.
What Does a Social Worker Do?
Social work attracts people from diverse backgrounds with various skills and interests. Their work is fundamental to a functioning society. They focus on supporting those on the lower end of the socioeconomic ladder. Some may have prior experience working in education, healthcare, or law enforcement, while others may be drawn to social work as a first career or as a career change.
Social workers work for government agencies, schools, nonprofits, and medical facilities, including hospitals, mental health clinics, and private practices. Graduates of a bachelor’s program in social work are prepared for careers in different areas of social work.
According to the National Association of Social Workers, these areas include advocacy and community organization, aging, child welfare, developmental disabilities, health care, the justice system (including corrections), and public welfare.
Social Workers Make Excellent Leaders
Social work attracts professionals motivated to create change in their communities. In an article for Social Work Today, Dr. Karen S. Haynes wrote that the nature of social work puts people into positions of leadership because it calls for upholding values such as service, social justice, belief in a person’s dignity and worth, the importance of human relationships, and integrity.
“We are all social workers because of the pioneers who sought to correct injustices and find ways to care for the poor and disenfranchised,” Dr. Haynes wrote. “As social workers, we understand that good leadership means the daily application of these values. So, whether or not we think about it, when we committed to social work as a profession, we were committing to being leaders.”
According to The New Social Worker, social work leadership is “most closely aligned with the model of transformational leadership, a style in which the leader identifies the needed change, creates the vision for that change, inspires and guides others to work toward that change, and executes the change as a team.”
Strong Leadership Skills for Social Work
The New Social Work website outlines the skills that lead to success in social work leadership. Maintaining a clear vision of organizational goals and the ability to articulate and bring that vision to fruition is crucial.
Social work leaders collaborate with team members and community partners, building consensus around shared objectives. Adaptability also plays a key role, as the challenges individuals and communities face constantly evolve.
Empathy and an ethical approach to their job are central to a social worker’s mission. Resiliency is also essential, as leadership in social work is challenging and sometimes stressful. Social work leaders are expected to help those around them recover from setbacks and overcome obstacles.
Preparing for Social Work Leadership
Beyond earning a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, earning a graduate degree benefits those individuals motivated to aspire toward a social work leadership position. The online Master of Science in Human Services from Touro University Worldwide prepares graduates to excel in this critical field.
The master’s degree program provides students with the knowledge, skills, and flexibility they need to advance their careers in human services and positively impact their communities. The program allows working professionals to earn their degrees 100% online, providing flexibility and convenience.
Experienced faculty members bring real-world expertise to the classroom. Students build upon their knowledge in human services, developing the skills required to become leaders. It’s a valuable next step for those ready to advance their careers in social work, public health, and nonprofit management.
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