Episode 181 - Chad Allee: Leadership in Social Work

Monday, December 07, 2015, 7:40:36 AM

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The idea of leadership is finding its way more often into the discussions of professional social work, but what is meant by "leadership"? And, what does being a "leader" mean? In this episode, Chad Allee describes what leadership is, argues for the importance of leadership in social work, and points to the need to cultivate more social work leaders.

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Average Rating: 5stars  review, Sunday, February 21, 2016

By Jen B :

Alle reflects the absence of Workers at the table pushing for necessary change. Leadership, as Alle broadly defines it, involves taking a group from where they are to where they want to go.
Alle defines functional differences between transformational leaders and transactional leaders in Social Work. Transformational leaders have a purpose and vision whereby they use an open system to inspire followers and transform change. While transactional leaders work to motivate people using forms of behavior modification, following standardized ideas, policies, and practices to keep the wheel turning. Transactional leadership is the predominate in SW.
Alle maintains a democratic leadership model is better equipped to fit the needs, culture and overall function of Social Work as it allows for both types of leaders, those who make it happen and those who inspire change. Social Workers have leadership skills valued. If transferred on a broader scale, these leadership skills can affect change on a macro level using a concept Alle calls being “positively frustrated.” Positively frustrated entails Social Workers being curious and looking ahead to move forward despite the frustrations with obstruction Social Workers encounter. Alle states Social Workers can enhance Social Work by taking action and together being positively frustrated to build on whatever issue needs to be addressed.

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Average Rating: 5stars  helping social workers help themselves, Sunday, February 07, 2016

By Aimee :

This conversation was very enlightening in that I had not realized that there is no widely recognized leader in the social work field. When I have thought about social work leaders in the past, I had only really considered the founder of social work, Jane Addams. I also enjoyed the exploration of the three different types of leadership and agree, most social workers are Democratic leaders in that there is a lot of shared decision making and a push for debate and discussion with the clients we serve. What stands out most to me in this discussion is the fact that social workers are strength based. We are a strength based profession and should be using our skills to form and support widely recognized leaders. Because there seems to be areas of ambiguity in such topics as human rights and social work ethics, a widely recognized leader could help to enhance the profession and guide everyone to greater consideration in how we practice, to improve our practice. Thank you for sharing your insights and guidance. This is a topic not discussed or acted upon often enough.

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Average Rating: 4stars  social workers - natural leaders, Sunday, February 07, 2016

By K. Szczesniak :

Mr. Allee notes the difference between transactional and transformational leaders. Transactional leaders are often supervisors and managers who are tasked with motivating others, who “keep the wheels turning”, and ensure that the job gets done. We all know many of these leaders on a local and regional level who are competent, skillful, role models. However, he suggests that the field could benefit from more transformational leaders who lead with a sense of purpose and vision, who inspire larger change in terms of how social workers conceptualize and practice their work, as well as how to move the field forward as a profession. Mr. Allee believes social workers already possess these leadership skills, but are often not included “at the decision making tables”. He argues there is a general myth that only mangers and macro workers can be transformational leaders.

As a student completing a foundation year field placement in Disaster Mental Health, I agree with Mr. Allee that social workers (clinical), who have the knowledge and expertise in this specialized area of practice, are often not included at the local level in the decision making of emergency preparedness, response, and recovery plans for a community. Our importance and value often go unrecognized. Mr. Allee is correct. It is up to us to advocate for ourselves and our profession. In this sense, we all can become transformational leaders who can utilize our strengths-based perspectives, and our inherent leadership skills of motivating, inspiring, and advocating to benefit our own profession and expand our thinking.

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Average Rating: 4stars  leadership in social work, Sunday, February 07, 2016

By M. Polichetti :

Leadership in social work practice is an interesting discussion and I found this podcast with Chad Allee to cover some interesting concepts. Chad Allee discussed multiple types of leadership including authoritarian, paternalistic, and democratic leadership. He also discussed how these types of leadership might be reflected at various levels of agency management including supervisors, managers, and the leaders, and how this can have an effect on the culture of the agency. Two things that I am going to take from this include the idea that as social workers we should see the strengths of the various other members of the teams we are a part of. I also appreciated the idea that was left at the end of the interview about being frustrated, but positively. Looking at what we can contribute and what we can continue to learn and bring into our practice. This will allow the building of strengths and the positive qualities of current leaders and potentially help to build ourselves to help shape future leaders, or create an environment where they will be able to utilize their abilities and strengths. Not all leaders need to be in charge, but individuals working in the social work field can all be leaders in their own right and should accept the responsibilities of working in such a great field.

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DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series.