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We believe these capabilities are essential for outstanding social work leadership, and they underpin the Firstline programme.
Resilience and self-reflexivity
Demonstrating self-reflexivity that enables focus and tenacity when faced with increasingly challenging circumstances. The ability to respond appropriately, manage uncertainty and bounce back even in the most trying situations. To do so, leaders must be aware of own personal strengths, potential and areas for future growth, and understand how their behaviour can impact others. This involves being aware of emotional triggers, biases and prejudices, and identifying ways to manage these effectively.
Analysis and decision-making
The ability to spot patterns between potentially unrelated concepts and use this information to make informed decisions. At higher levels, this involves simplifying complex issues, being innovative, taking a broader view and considering additional information to support decision-making whilst driving others to do the same.
The ability to build relationships and create confidence by understanding the thoughts, emotions and feelings of staff and colleagues, and identifying reasons for why others behave the way they do. Using excellent interpersonal skills, first line leaders are able to empower others to achieve, building a strong rapport to create a culture which has children and families at its heart.
Impact and influence
Having a positive impact on their teams and partners within the practice system through persuading, convincing and bringing others round to their perspective. Understanding others’ perspectives and priorities will enable the first line leader to tailor their communication to suit their audience.
Learning and developing others
A curiosity and willingness to develop or acquire new knowledge, skills or experience and developing and empowering their team to do so, to ensure they experience significant professional growth. Making the most of opportunities to learn from mistakes, and modelling this within the team to encourage curiosity and avoid the development of a blame culture. Using initiative and creativity to create opportunities for learning and discovering different ways of doing things, personally and for others through long and short-term strategies. Seeing the Firstline programme as an opportunity to satisfy their hunger to learn and develop themselves. Continually seeking out opportunities to develop colleagues through activities such as mentoring, coaching, championing and guiding, in order to bring out the very best in them.
The intention to inspire through motivating and energising social work teams, colleagues and partners, uniting them around shared goals or objectives. Creating a motivating and energetic context within which social workers are driven and supported to work directly with families to improve their life experience.
Holding to account
The ability to clarify expectations, set high standards for others and ensure that goals or objectives are achieved. This involves holding others to account for performing in line with expectations. Part of this will also involve using one’s own position or authority to get others to do what has been asked of them. At times, this will involve making tough or unpopular decisions. These choices of actions will always be instigated with children and families in mind.
Acts in a principled way, based on a clear set of personal values, and makes decisions with the best interests of children at heart. Contributes value as a first line leader and is passionate about affecting positive change in the lives of children and families. Has an unswerving belief that social work can play a crucial part in changing lives and improving life chances and believes that with the right support, families are able to change.
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