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Article

Darlyne Bailey, Kimberly B. Bonner, Katrina M. Uhly, and Jessica S. Wilen

The concept of leadership has evolved from focusing on innate abilities, to learned skills, to understanding that leadership is composed of both skills and abilities. Recently, theorists and practitioners have identified elements of effective leadership within social work organizations. These areas of knowledge, skills, and values encourage social work leaders to recognize their organizations as living systems within an interdependent world and aid them in connecting humanistic intentions with effects. Both acknowledgment and enactment of these leadership competencies are essential for all organizational members to engage in effective dialogue and action. Social workers, regardless of their organizational titles, can learn and hone these qualities in social work training programs and continuing professional development opportunities, as well as through practical field experiences for effective leadership in the field.

Article

Gary M. Bess, James J. Kelly, James B. Macdonald, and James J. Woolever

Theorists have struggled with a myriad of definitions of leadership, as well as trait, behavioral, and situational leadership models. They have identified leadership types from transformational and charismatic to motivational. There has been much speculation and some study of the traits and characteristics of effective leaders, as well as effective leadership styles, abilities, and practices. Social work theorists have contributed to this field by identifying the critical and unique characteristics of social work leadership, such as adherence to social work norms and orientation to the needs of disadvantaged groups. Today, social workers build on leadership theories and utilize emerging technologies for creating tomorrow’s leaders through practices, such as formal training, coaching, mentoring, and peer networking. There has always been—and will be—a critical need for leadership in health and human services fields, as well as other endeavors, such as military social work, where social work practices contribute to optimal benefit for individuals and institutions. Indeed, leadership development can be viewed from two perspectives: the individual and the organizational. From the individual perspective, while innate leadership skills may be present, it is also learned, and it begins with a critical assessment of the individual’s strengths and limitations, as well as resources for professional growth. From an organizational perspective, there are also numerous views on how things get done and the role of the leader as a changemaker. After an overview of leadership from a definitional and early models’ discussion, a transition to social work leadership takes place, comparing and contrasting its tenets with conventional leadership literature in the context of health and human services organizations, and the unique requirements and skills for social work leaders across a range of employment venues, including increasing numbers of social work-trained officers in the military. Observations are made concerning the future of social work practice.

Article

Sadye L. M. Logan

Antonia Pantoja (1921–2002) was a civil and human rights activist, educational innovator, housing and economic development trailblazer, and a visionary. She was the principal architect of the most enduring Puerto Rican organizations in the United States.

Article

Erick G. Guerrero, Tenie Khachikian, and Murali Nair

Evidence-based macro practices (EBMPs) rely on the best available evidence to promote system change. The field of social work needs to develop, implement, and disseminate EBMPs to respond to increasing public accountability to deliver cost-effective interventions that promote health and well-being among vulnerable populations. There are several evidence-based macro practices at the community and organizational levels that have potential to improve the effectiveness of social work practice. These EBMPs, their components, and the critical role they play in improving interventions and enacting change at a macro level are important. Building science in social work, informing practice in the 21st century, and effectively responding to system-wide challenges (e.g., epidemics, institutional racism, growing inequality) that disproportionally impact the health and well-being of the most vulnerable members of our society are important areas to explore.

Article

The World Health Organization defines interprofessional collaborative practice (IPCP) as when multiple health workers from different professional backgrounds provide comprehensive health services working with patients/clients, families, caregivers, and communities to deliver quality health care across settings. IPCP has long been considered a best practice model to improve effective health-care delivery; however, implementation of collaborative practice models and evidence to support their efficacy have been relatively slow to develop. IPCP is inextricably linked to interprofessional education and practice (IPEP), which brings together students and practitioners across disciplines and practices, and includes direct care workforce, people/patients/clients, families, and communities to learn with, from, and about each other to prepare them for integrated workplace practice. The article will explore national and global interprofessional collaborative practice initiatives; outline core competencies and evidence for collaborative practice; provide examples of IPCP implementation; and discuss the role social work plays in the development and leadership of collaborative practice.

Article

Larraine M. Edwards

Wilber I. Newstetter (1896–1972) developed specialized training for social workers in youth and group leadership. He established Cleveland's University Settlement, which provided neighborhood outreach services, and became first dean of the School of Social Work, University of Pittsburgh, in 1938.

Article

Wilma Peebles-Wilkins

Inabel Burns Lindsay (1900–1983) was the first dean of the Howard University School of Social Work, the second U.S. accredited school serving Black students. She published numerous articles on community leadership, elderly people, and Black participation in social welfare.

Article

Thomas Packard

Human service organizations (HSOs) continue to face significant challenges to improve performance and the quality of working life for employees. Planned organizational change can help HSOs meet these challenges through the use of evidence-based tactics and methods ranging from team building and organizational redesign to implementation science. While organizational change is a dynamic rather than a liner process, a phase model can provide valuable structure. Organizational leaders or other potential change agents typically begin by identifying a change need or opportunity and creating a change goal that describes a desired future state. Initial assessments of the problem should include assessment of the organization’s and its leaders’ readiness and capacity for change. Implementation tactics include creating a sense of urgency and communicating the change vision and plan for implementation. Developing and maintaining support for the process are ongoing. An action system for implementing the change initiative should include representatives from throughout the organization. Provisions should be made for team building and conflict resolution. Widespread staff participation in activities including problem solving groups enhances staff commitment and improves the quality of the change results through the expertise that employees bring to the process. Action planning and monitoring systems can track progress and identify emerging concerns to address. Progress on the change process should be regularly and fully communicated to all employees. Agreed upon changes should be institutionalized through new policies and procedures, staff training, and organizational culture changes. All changes made should be evaluated to assess success and identify future change opportunities.

Article

F. Ellen Netting, M. Lori Thomas, and Jan Ivery

Macro social work practice includes those activities performed in organizational, community, and policy arenas. Macro practice has a diverse history that reveals conflicting ideologies and draws from interdisciplinary perspectives within the United States and around the world. Much has been written about how to balance macro and micro roles and how social work education can inform this balance. Organization and community theories, as well as theories of power, politics, and change inform macro practice. Macro practice models and methods include organization and community practice; community organizing, development, and planning; and policy practice, all of which underscore the social work profession’s emphasis on using a person-in-environment perspective. Underlying issues and future opportunities for macro practitioners include, but are not limited to, addressing equity, inclusion, and human rights; leading sustainability and environmental justice efforts; recognizing the importance of data, evidence, and accountability; and keeping up-to-date on technology and innovation.

Article

Jessica Greenawalt, Jan Ivery, Terry Mizrahi, and Beth B. Rosenthal

Coalitions are mechanisms to bring organizations and individuals together for collective efforts ranging from short-term crisis responses to longer-term problem-solving for social change. Coalitions create a specific type of collaboration that is dynamic and responsive to current events in the social, political, economic, and physical environments. In addition to addressing diverse issues, coalitions can be structured to position those most impacted by the issues to have greater influence in addressing them. This article frames an understanding of coalitions within the context of equity and power and suggests aligned language and approaches. Coalition-specific challenges and opportunities are presented to illustrate how coalition building is both a process and an outcome for developing equitable and inclusive practices in macro social work.

Article

Erlene Grise-Owens, J. Jay Miller, and Larry W. Owens

The profession of social work increasingly experiences the damaging impact of professional burnout, staff turnover, and compromised services. Organizational wellness involves planful efforts to address these concerns and promote employee well-being. A rationale for organizational wellness is articulated, including its value for social work. The evolving paradigm of a holistic, systemic approach to organizational wellness is then discussed. Next, how social work is ideally situated to lead organizational wellness efforts is detailed as an arena of macro practice and as providing a framework for designing and developing an organizational wellness culture. Using social work competencies, social workers can use this framework to provide leadership in conceptualizing, planning, implementing, evaluating, and sustaining organizational wellness. Further critical considerations underscore how this leadership promotes the profession’s mission, supports the profession’s viability, and establishes a vital arena for ongoing macro practice.

Article

Linda Kreitzer and Richard Ramsay

Gayle Gilchrist-James (1940–2008) was a leader in social work in Canada and around the world. Through her social work practice, academia, and leadership at the national and international levels, she exemplified what a social worker could do through hard work, vision, and passion. Her wholistic systems view gave her the sense of “no limits” about her life and work. Her leadership was rooted in compassion and a humanitarian perspective. She was a role model to students and faculty at the University of Calgary in her teaching style and how she cared deeply for the students she taught. Her crowning accomplishments were her work with the International Federation of Social Workers (IFSW) as vice-president (North America) and president and the creation of the IFSW’s Commission on Human Rights.

Article

Sadye L. M. Logan

Barbara W. White (1943–2019), Dean Emeritus at University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work, was an accomplished scholar in the areas of cultural diversity, women, and domestic violence. She was actively engaged with social work education for over three decades and was a former president of both the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE). White has left a distinguished legacy that spans the national and international communities of social work.

Article

Brenda F. McGadney

Benjamin L. Hooks (1925–2010) was best known as an African American civil rights leader, lawyer, Baptist minister, gifted orator, and a businessman (co-founder of a bank and chicken fast-food franchises), who was executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) (1977–1992). Hooks was appointed by President Richard Nixon as one of five commissioners (first African American) of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in 1972, commencing in 1973 with confirmation by the Senate.

Article

Sadye L. M. Logan

Ella Josephine Baker (1903–1986) was a consummate organizer and activist who played an active role in shaping the civil and human rights movements in the United States of America from 1930 through the 1980s.

Article

Kim DeJong

Florence Philpott (1909–1992) was a Canadian social worker and leader in the field. Philpott worked as a caseworker, community organizer, educator, and she was involved in social planning and policy development. Philpott demonstrated strong leadership in community organizations concerned with poverty, homelessness, and unemployment. As executive director of the Social Planning Council of Metropolitan Toronto, she mobilized a Needs and Resources Study that exposed inadequate relief rates and insufficient community support. Philpott contributed to the professionalization of social work in Canada as executive director of the Canadian Association of Social Workers in Ottawa from 1964 to 1971. Her extensive volunteer and work experience in the field of social work illustrates her commitment to advocating better relief rates for those living in poverty, guiding organizations in resource allocation, and promoting the role of social workers in the community.