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The growing need for professionals who will provide support and guidance to people in disadvantaged communities indicates the continuing value of social work in today’s world. Social workers are needed in a wide variety of settings, including healthcare services, community centers, nonprofit organizations, and government social service agencies.

A lot of social workers engage with children and families, particularly in depressed communities where families struggle to keep their kids in school. Some social workers specialize and deal with people with substance abuse or mental health issues. Others work in orphanages or foster care or with pregnant teenagers.

The nature of their jobs requires future social workers to develop leadership skills so they can positively influence people and gain the courage to become agents of social change. By leading change in communities and organizations, social workers can find success and provide the services required by their clients.

Leadership skills for social workers

Since much of their work involves providing clarity, guidance and direction to people sorely in need of these things, social workers would do well to acquire the skills that will make them effective leaders in their field.

Some of these leadership skills include:


Being able to put oneself in other people’s shoes helps one to understand others’ plight, no matter how strange or different their circumstances may be. Empathy can allow social workers to gain deeper insights into the issues that plague their clients. This way, it becomes easier to come up with solutions to their problems.

Critical thinking and problem-solving

Since social workers often find themselves in problematic situations, critical thinking and problem-solving skills will help them to better assess client situations. They also enable social workers to develop action plans geared toward helping and empowering their clients to ultimately resolve conflicts and overcome the obstacles.

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Communication skills

The best ideas will only be known if they are effectively communicated. Social workers work in a variety of environments and with people from all walks of life, and to be a good communicator, one must also be a good listener. Social workers need to be able to understand different situations and articulate their plans of action in the simplest terms so their clients can decide and act to improve their situations.

Interpersonal skills

Many social workers work in environments where people are emotional, desperate or under tremendous stress. Thus, it is necessary to have the skills required to listen and assist those who are undergoing tough situations. Through all this, social workers also need to maintain a calm demeanor and exhibit professional behavior to promote a safe, calm experience.

Organizational skills

It’s not unusual for social workers to have several clients all at once, so they have to deal with different issues and situations simultaneously. Therefore, being able to successfully juggle these tasks is crucial. Having advanced organizational and time management skills will help social workers manage their caseload efficiently.

Experience and success in social work

The multifaceted and usually problematic nature of various social work settings makes being a social worker a truly challenging yet rewarding endeavor. Comprehensive social work training plays a significant role in the preparation of social workers for their careers.

Future social workers need to gain experience through training, fieldwork and immersion to develop the necessary leadership skills that will assist them in becoming successful in their field.

Oli Kang
Oli Kang is a working mum who has a passion for teaching and all things educational. With a background in marketing, Oli manages the digital channels and content at Courses AU.