Victoria Brewster, MSW

Victoria Brewster, MSW

Social Justice Solutions | Staff Writer
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Social Work Month Series: Leadership Qualities To Focus On

Leadership is very important no matter what the profession. Good leadership equals a good business and happy employees. What makes a leader likeable and successful? Are leadership skills limited to the business domain? I do not think so. This is an area for the profession of social work to shine! Those that have obtained BSW and/or MSW degrees already have many of the needed skills of compassion, advocacy, justice, authenticity, listening, and responsiveness, so it would make sense that they would also make good leaders both within the profession of social work and in the business world.

LinkedIn has been a wonderful source of information and it seems that almost every group I am part in, I come across articles on leadership. The first article focuses on eleven concepts that are important to leadership; likeable, gratefulness, authenticity/transparency (vulnerability and humility), adaptability, surprise/delight, responsiveness, simplicity, listening, storytelling, passion, and team playing.

Responsiveness- “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.” -Charles Swindoll
Passion- “The only way to do great work is to love the work you do.” -Steve Jobs
Transparency– “Openness and honesty lead to happier staff, customers and colleagues.” – Dave Kerpen
The Golden Rule: Above all else, treat others as you would like to be treated

Can you think of a manager, director or leader that has these qualities or characteristics? If so, are you able to describe how that person uses the above concepts in their daily interactions with yourself and others?

The second article describes that the most successful of leaders do fifteen things automatically each day. The fifteen concepts are: make others feel safe to speak up, make decisions, communicate expectations, challenge people to think, be accountable to others, lead by example, measure and reward performance, provide continuous feedback, properly allocate and deploy talent, ask questions/seek counsel, problem solve/ avoid procrastination, positive energy and attitude, be a great teacher, invest in relationships, and genuinely enjoy responsibilities. When I think of a true leader these are definitely the skills I want the person to have.

One does not have to be in a managerial or typical leadership position to have these characteristics and qualities inside them though. I am sure we all can think of a person that everyone is drawn to, is a great listener, is someone to ‘vent’ to, to seek guidance from, for the most part displays energy and a positive attitude, asks the questions that others either do not ask or are afraid to ask. Perhaps they absorb and internalize  information before going into ‘action’ mode, but this slower approach yields results.

In honor of social work month I ask each of you who are reading this, to think of at least one person in your professional life who displays these leadership qualities and to tell them you appreciate them and just say a simple ‘thank you.’

Written by Victoria Brewster, MSW
SJS Staff Writer in Canada

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