WHAT LEADERSHIP MEANS TO ME
Being raised in a small town I had a lot of opportunities to be a leader for different organizations, clubs, sports teams, and academically. When I entered college I found myself as a small fish in a big pond even at a smaller university in Ohio. Throughout my undergraduate degree program I learned a lot about leadership in the workplace and a student. Most importantly I wondered what leadership truly means to me. I chose social work because I wanted to make a difference. I think that is what leadership means to me, making a difference. As a leader I will have the opportunity to showcase a good attitude and positive environment. As a student I feel that I can lead others in my class by setting a good example as a student. Being a resource to help others students, asking good questions, and being prepared are all ways I can be a leader. I took a quiz that told me what my leadership style would be and I found out I would be a steward. Here is a link to quiz yourself!
Being a steward means that I am dependable, loyal and helpful, and provide a stabilizing and calming force for their team members. As a social worker I will often be in situation of high stress and so will my colleagues. Being a steward I can help to be a calming source to others and know that they can always count on me. It is important that as a practitioner I am dependable and others know I will always be there to help.
In society many people ask me “what is a social worker” or “what do you even do” and I have to be able to explain in a short message what I have chosen to spend my life doing. As a social worker I need to be effective because I will come into contact with a lot of individuals and deal with a lot of different situations. An article I read said that three keep leadership concepts for social workers were; Transformational Leadership, Communication, and general business and administrative skills. I think these are all important aspects of being an effective and competent social worker. As we transform our leadership skills to what works best for those around us we will see positive results. Communication is always a key in anything we do and being able to understand business and administrative skills because in a high turn over profession we will always need to be on our feet. I think this will help the other professionals we work with see that we are able to communicate with them in a positive way. We will transform our styles to be compatible with theirs and we will take the time to learn the skills outside of our job title. Other professions will start to see the difference we can make and we will not be asked what a social worker is as often.
Two key leadership concepts I want to share are first the character strengths quiz and mood elevator quiz. As a leader it is important to always understand what your character strengths are and how you can use them to benefit you and others. The more you know about yourself the better able you are to help others. I have already taken both of the quizzes and I linked them below for you to take yourself!
After taking the quizzes I hope you can see why they are beneficial. Taking quizzes is always a fun and interactive way to learn about yourself and I enjoyed being able to have so many interactive assignments in one of my classes. I found the mood elevator to be more impactful, because I struggle often with my mood. I can go from one extreme to the next without truly understanding why. The mood elevator helped me to better understand those certain moods and why I may be feeling certain ways. I also realized that I can consciously look at the mood elevator and work to go up on it and make changes myself. It is always important to understand what is going on inside you and be able to deal with it. I can see myself using these tools throughout my professional and academic career to see the changes in myself and give them as resources to others. As a student I will change and learn more and after documenting my scores now I can see the growth. As a professional I can use the results to make myself a better practitioner and allow others to find out for themselves how they score.
FIVE COMPONENTS OF EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE
Within the Five Components of Emotional Intelligence I struggle with motivation the most here is a link to test for you to take to see how you score! https://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/ei-quiz.htm
I have a very creative mind and the smallest of tasks seem overwhelming to me because I have to narrow in on one thing at a time. A simple project such as this blog to me is overwhelming because I think of all the creative things I could choose to do, but then time constraints would not allow me to have a finished project as I envision. This means that I typically wait until I have no time to create what is in my mind and I choose a basic option that I know I will realistically have time to finish perfectly. I always make lists and find satisfaction at marking things off, but my motivation is often placed on finishing the easiest things first. This way I look like I did a lot in a short amount of time. Then I lose my motivation because I assume that since I did so much I can reward myself with a break. I then tend to wait until the last second and am motivated by time to finish things. I have a lot of dreams and ideas, but motivation is hard for me to overcome. With little time in a busy schedule for self care it is easy to understand why I may not always have motivation. One way that I would like to grow is to make a list only filled with the time consuming tasks, that way I actually accomplish them. Another way is to preform better self care. If I take the time to do things for myself I may start feeling better and have that motivation to finish tasks better. A final way is to make myself a vision board. Having a visual reminder of what hard work and motivation may lead to is enough to help keep me going. If I know that each things I am doing is for a greater purpose I may gain more motivation that I have ever had.
As a new MSW student you are stepping into a new professional level. You are now working towards a higher degree, which will in turn have greater opportunities and expectations. As a BSW student you are learning basic information about being a social worker and looking mostly towards those with more experience or schooling to be leaders. As an MSW student you are now in a place where others look to you to lead them. Using an article written by Shayna Joubert I found some interesting facts about graduate students and leadership. Some of her points were that we will learn new goal setting capabilities, become more effective communicators, our views will be challenged and we will begin to solve real world problems. All of these will be great tools in our lives and starting out our graduate career with a better understanding of leadership will only strengthen our understanding through our degree program. A new graduate student is gaining more knowledge and insight on their career path which sets them apart from others. With more knowledge comes more opportunities to lead. Graduate school will be difficult in its own way and finding out leadership styles will only help students to build on those skills and use them to the fullest potential they have.
One recommendation I have for strengthening the leadership content in online courses is to allow students to have more opportunities to discuss leadership. As we complete different discussions in the classes we have the opportunity to talk to our fellow classmates about our own leadership qualities, our experiences with leadership, and leaders that have impacted us. I enjoy the discussions that focused on those that have impacted us and felt that I was able to learn a lot about other students and how they view leadership. Completing more discussions about the topic I think would give a lot of students ideas on how to be a better leader and how impactful leaders are even in the smallest of ways. Another recommendation I would have would be to watch different videos on leadership styles, leaders, and impact stories. It is always compelling to hear real life experiences about how others have touched people’s lives. As a social worker I hope that I can impact many lives and grow as a leader.
I hope that anyone who has come across this blog has learned a little about themselves and how to be a better leader. We all have a purpose and all have the potential to lead!
Joubert, S. (2018, January 23). How a Graduate Education Can Improve Your Leadership Skills. Retrieved from https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/how-to-improve-leadership-skills-in-grad-school/
Three Key Leadership Skills Emerging in the Social Work Sector. (2018, November 20). Retrieved from https://online.rutgers.edu/blog/three-key-leadership-skills-emerging-social-work-sector/