Successful leaders build themselves by all positive means. The effectiveness of organizations is dependent on the efficiency of the leaders. Thus, strategic planning is essential if an organization wants to clarify its goals and how they are going to achieve them. Most people argue that servant leadership is the best form of management, but it does not explain how a leader becomes an active manager. This is where the idea of personal leadership plan comes in. Leadership development program is a tool that supports the professional growth of a leader and guides them as they focus on bringing positive change in the community, nation or region. A leadership plan consists of the target group, timelines, and the set goals. It shows detailed steps that will make an organization progress towards achieving its set goals within the stipulated time frame. Leadership plan development program takes various forms, from executive retreat to one on one coaching. Leadership program focuses on the strengths, weaknesses, frustrations and the experience of a leader.
Identifying Skills, Values, and Interests.
I am interested in the social worker profession. The primary job for the social work profession is to improve the comfort of people and assist access the basic needs. The job focuses on empowering individuals who are vulnerable, oppressed and needy. Social workers help promote social justice and social change to their clients. Clients refer to the target communities, families, individuals, groups and organizations (Kadushin & Harkness, 2014). Social workers are sensitive to the culture and ethnic diversity of their customers and strive to end discernment and oppression through policy development, education, supervision, consultation, and research. Social workers require a range of skills such as emotional, cognitive and professional skills. Social workers have a role to listen effectively. Excellent listening skills ensure that the worker builds trust with their clients which make them feel comfortable when sharing their issues. Active listening makes the customers feel that they are understood and that they are unique in the society. Furthermore, social workers need to have a high emotional intelligence because in most cases they have to balance what they know and what they intuit. They must also be able to communicate in various ways with people from different regions. Social workers should be transparent about the range of services that they provide to avoid inconveniencing the clients. Communication also takes place between social workers and care providers because workers are expected to document what they do with their customers and also provide written reports to third parties who may seek accurate information. Other skills that social workers require include, inner strength, empathy, tolerance, setting boundaries and critical thinking.
External Limiting Factors
There is an alarming rate of the exodus of social workers from the profession. This has adverse effects on the social work aims of enhancing the well-being people in the society through empowerment and promotion of social change. Most social workers in the world have seen their workload increase while the resources required remain limited. This has been due to bigger caseloads, greater paperwork, and disclosure requirements. Additionally, increases in workload have been due to improved search to find services for their clients because of the reduced government spending on the social programs. A study conducted by National Association of Social Workers in 2007 showed that heavy work load was a crucial cause of job-related stress which in turn leads to decreased performance. Due to the economic recession in 2008, the social workers have to serve more clients who have numerous problems and more severe problems.
Moreover, social workers are struggling to measure the impact that they have in the society due to lack of funds and unavailability of data. Unavailability of data has been due to unresponsiveness by some members of the community. Those members seek payment to disclose the problems affecting a particular society. In some cases, the social workers receive a hostile reception, and people are not willing to listen to them. They are attacked and not given a chance to express themselves (Kadushin & Harkness, 2014). Furthermore, social workers interact with people of different cultures during their line of duty. This is a barrier since some of the workers do not understand the language and culture of particular communities. He or she has to find an interpreter who will interpret to him the issues raised by the client or communities. Also, the worker has to conduct a pilot study to understand the norms, values, and culture of the target community to identify the likely challenges during the research.
Internal Limiting Factors
Most of the social workers lack motivation. Motivation refers to a person’s degree of willingness to maintain themselves to their task without losing focus. Community development organizations lack sufficient resources that ensure workers are well motivated. The performance of a worker depends on the level of motivation which stimulates them to work diligently and have the willingness to carry out the necessary tasks. Most social workers do not improve their knowledge and skills that will help them offer quality services to their clients. Lack of motivation encourages personal dissatisfaction to a social worker’s professional activity.
Some social workers lack effective communication skills. Poor communication acts as a barrier to good collaboration with the coworkers and the clients. Most of a social worker’s job is to interview customers and communities, and thus he or she has to develop the ability to pay attention and listen keenly to every detail. This may involve taking notes and observing how a client reacts as he speaks. Social workers should maintain an eye contact when talking to the clients. Moreover, the workers have to keep a certain distance of about three to five feet with their clients to help improve the level of comfort in the room (Kadushin & Harkness, 2014). They also need to adopt ways of diffusing conflict and not let it interfere with the issue being addressed. They should not threaten and warn the clients, judge them or make any unsuitable statement that may lead to conflict. Additionally, they should avoid raising their voices even if the client yells first because they have an ethical obligation to respect the clients.
The family background of a worker can also affect their performance. Norms, values, and culture of the social workers are different. For instance, some communities expect females to obey their in laws and husbands and give more importance to domestic work over professional work. In case a social worker disobeys their culture, they are often cast out and rejected. Moreover, some social workers lack the confidence to celebrate their work openly. They hold the notion that social work is one of the less valued professions which in turn becomes detrimental to their level of performance.
Social workers are required to set their empathy limit with their clients. This has to do with putting oneself in the shoes of one’s client and viewing things from their side of view. Too much empathy makes the social workers identify so much with their clients and fail to understand the problem’s objectives. The agent may thus be required to live with the client’s family for several weeks before they requested to handle the problem. Role playing during training where social workers may be asked to play the role of the client is also another technique. Additionally, social workers should consider homophily and heterophily. This refers to the degree to which the interacting persons are similar in particular characteristics whereas heterophily refers to the extent to which they vary. Social workers usually differ from their clients in many aspects and usually tend to interact with clients who are similar (Kadushin & Harkness, 2014). They may focus on the effectiveness of communication and the color of the clients. Social workers should ensure that they do not discriminate the clients by color, religion, ethnic background or marital status.
Social workers should settle on an acceptable level of time commitment before deciding on a social program. They should balance their family duties and professional life without neglecting either responsibility. Social programs often vary from two to eight years, and thus social workers need to study different fields to determine the amount of time required. They must obtain a license to practice in a particular state. A social worker should have the following traits; patience, empathy, persistence, flexibility, resilience, self-drive and confidentiality.
Goals and Plans:
Short-term Goals and plans
The most rewarding aspects of social work are to bring a difference in people’s life. Social workers hope that their efforts have a lasting effect on the society and bring positive outcomes in the policy through setting up of projects and taking actions to alleviate poverty. To achieve these goals, social workers need to cooperate with community leaders and the elected officials to bring change through the existing laws and community outreach (Kadushin & Harkness, 2014). Social workers are concerned with the participation of all groups in all sexes, age groups, religion, region, race and social classes. They thus emphasize the need to understand how different issues can be addressed while at the same time identifying elements that might divide the community.
Long-term Goals and Plans
Social work aims at promoting future promotion opportunities. The social worker’s supervisors direct the staff members who provide the services. Having experience in the field helps improve the effectiveness of the workers and make them understand the challenges of the job. Social work focuses on securing funds and oversee policy formulation and implementation. Furthermore, a social worker has to stay current with research and participate in continuing education classes to update their knowledge base (Kadushin & Harkness, 2014). The profession of a social worker entails staying up to date with the latest theories and developments in the society. For instance, if a social worker is an expert in the field of psychotherapy, they have to dedicate their time to further their knowledge of psychoanalytic theories. Educational programs help the social worker gain more experience in their areas of specialization. This also helps a social worker get opportunities to work in different fields of social work.
An organization’s success depends on the leadership philosophy that it portrays to its clients. Inconsistent performance and messaging of an organization can harm an organization’s reputation, making it overbearing for the managers to be good communicators. The aim of a leadership philosophy is to prepare leaders to encounter challenging and meaningful field experiences by building their personal and intellectual development. In their quest for excellence in education, poverty alleviation, and policy formulation, they create powerful, lasting impacts in the communities (Savage-Austin & Honeycutt, 2011). Additionally, leadership philosophy aims at creating collaboration with families and community members to respond to different community interests and needs and mobilization of the community resources. Leaders are expected to think globally, navigate the political dynamic and act as change agents keeping attention on the importance of every detail. A leader should also provide individual guidance to other team members on how to meet their personal development goals. A leadership philosophy should consist of the values, vision, and mission of the organization.
A leadership philosophy is a mission statement which guides individuals to focus on their work. It makes people know what a person expects, what one values and how one acts in certain situations thus they do not waste their energy and time trying to guess. Successful leaders do not resign themselves to sit down and give orders behind desks (Savage-Austin & Honeycutt, 2011). A highly efficient management is one that aims at talking about the organization’s philosophy to its clients. For example, Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin group would always greet the clients when he met them and always addressed all the complaints. In his view, these tactics created a friendly and responsive culture that humanizes an organization.
Furthermore, a leadership philosophy helps leaders manage companies during the difficult economic times. They are best suited to know how to turn things around. During a recession, it’s hard to get employees who are willing to work in such situations and thus it provides another chance for a company to redefine its vision and mission. An organization can deal with the negative public perception of a company’s performance (Savage-Austin & Honeycutt, 2011). In conclusion, leaders use leadership philosophy to communicate with the potential employees and clients to convince them to accept their vision. They can promote certain core values like discipline, responsibility and ethical behavior in an organization.
Kadushin, A., & Harkness, D. (2014). Supervision in social work. Columbia University Press.
Savage-Austin, A. R., & Honeycutt, A. (2011). Servant leadership: A phenomenological study of practices, experiences, organizational effectiveness, and barriers. Journal of Business & Economics Research (JBER), 9(1).