Everyone is a Leader, (Yes, Social Workers too!)

I am taking two Social Work courses this semester. SOWO 874 is one of them. This course is entitled Administration and Management Theory and Practice. I decided to take this course because I see myself in a leadership position in the future. I have already learned so much. Naturally, our perspectives of what a leader is are somewhat skewed due to what we learn at a young age. My previous perspective of a leader involved an individual dictating to others tasks to complete. Thankfully, I now know that is not true. A true leader is a leader who works with those they lead in order to achieve common goals or objectives. Inherently, that is what Social Workers do with individuals and populations. We do not dictate to clients and populations what they should do as we know how ineffective this is. It denies individuals human agency and self-efficacy.

As Social Workers, we know how to effectively work with a variety of populations so that they can have the best quality of life for them despite what we believe it should look like. That is also an important lesson for a leader. Yes, you can have a set idea of how something can or should be achieved. However, if the majority of individuals express other ways in which the same outcome can occur, it would be beneficial to listen to those you lead. The more individuals and buy in you have, the more comprehensive the outcome. I read a book for this course entitled Crucial Conversations. This book is about how to effectively handle crucial conversations. Many times, we do poorly in crucial conversations because of three things: strong emotions, opposing views, and high stakes. The book also goes on to list 7 steps to handle these types of conversations. Although this book is not perfect, it provides extremely valuable information about how to handle these crucial conversations. I actually employed one of the techniques today and it worked out really well!!

Patterson, K., Grenny, J., McMillan, R., & Switzler, A. (2012). Crucial conversations: Tools for talking when stakes are high (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.
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