What Leadership Means to Me

As a professional social worker people will look to you.

Whether you like it or not people will come to you expecting something.

People will look to you for advice and counsel

For resources and financial assistance

For assessments and treatment plans

For connecting their family with their dream child

For providing comfort when a crisis hits


This is why leadership is important to me in my role as a social worker. No matter what field or area of social work I end up going into people and clients will always look to me for something. This is where it is imperative to have strong leadership skills. There will be a plethora of situations where I have to take charge, make decisions and give important sometimes even life-saving counseling, it can be a weighty calling, which means that I need to have good leadership skills in order to be effective and good at my role as a social worker.

When you commit to being a social worker you commit to being a leader.

Some of my favorite quotes that explain why leadership and social work go hand-in-hand are below:

Leadership is about using your position in order to elevate and empower others to help them to become the best that they can be. This is the beauty of leadership, you have the privilege of being able to speak into people’s lives, of people looking up to you and giving you the opportunity to encourage and inspire them as you give them the tools that they need in order to grow and thrive!

Dr. Haynes does an excellent job in succinctly laying out and articulating some of the ways that the social work practice directly links with leadership in her article entitled Social Workers as Leaders. 

Here are some of the main points that she brought to light in her article:

• Be future focused. “As social workers, to be successful, we must look beyond the moment to chart client care.”

• Develop our own blueprint for our careers, “for both working in and leading teams. Clearly, every situation will be different, so we must set guidelines and benchmarks that can be adjusted to help us reach desired outcomes. We also must be assertive about what we need from others to help hone our skills and expand our portfolios”.

• Lead but be part of a team. “Unequivocally, we need to know that our social work skills have enabled us to mediate when needed, foster collaboration when competition rears its head, assert that we must remain open and honest in our communication even when we don’t want to hear or give “bad news,” and remain vigilant in our commitment to constituents’ voices being heard.”

• Look for the strengths and weaknesses of those around us “to build an effective and balanced team, one that looks beyond quick fixes and works through challenges. The goal is for us, as the leaders, to get the team past “We can’t do it; it’s never been done” to the point of “Yes we can” (3).



Haynes, K. S., PhD, MSW. (2018). Social Workers as Leaders. Social Work Today. Retrieved July 24, 2018, from http://www.socialworktoday.com/archive/exc_040714.shtml