Great social workers draw on a number of personal leadership behaviours day to day, whether influencing a parent to try to manage without drugs or listening and understanding what it is that is keeping a teenage girl from playing for her local football team. That’s why leadership development forms an integral element of the Frontline programme.
Leadership exists everywhere. When we refer to leadership we mean personal leadership, not positional or hierarchical leadership. On completion of the Frontline programme, we want you to have a much clearer idea about your own individual leadership style. We will help you develop an increased awareness of the different ways you can apply your leadership skills to transform the lives of vulnerable children and to bring about change in local authorities and beyond.
The Frontline leadership capabilities have been designed specifically for a social work setting. They detail the different ways that you might use leadership skills when working as a social worker. The foundation of these capabilities are the principles of resilience and self-reflexivity. Both are at the core of systemic social work practice.
Over the course of the programme, we will work closely alongside you to provide you with the support, toolkit and opportunities you need to apply your own leadership style in practice. We know from experience that an awareness of the importance of leadership develops gradually over time.
Many people may not initially identify the link between leadership and social work. We explain the connection and give you the opportunity to explore this in depth across the course of the two-year programme. Over this time, it is our hope that you will become adept at using your leadership abilities to bring about change with families, within the social work profession and beyond.
Throughout the two-year programme you will:
• Explore your ethical basis and develop an understanding of what inspires you to act
• Work with peers and experienced practitioners to understand how who you are has been shaped by where you have come from
• Practice planning and having difficult conversations
• Try different problem-solving approaches in different settings
• Consider what makes someone step into the role of ‘leader’
In year one, we explore these themes at the summer institute, recall days and with your consultant social worker and practice tutors. In year two, you will explore them further in your research project, teaching days and in more depth in your individual sessions with your development coach.
In year two, you and your coach work closely to consider how your personal leadership development may complement your work with colleagues, as well as children and families. In addition, you will have the opportunity to examine leadership in a range of different contexts through our series Stories of Change.
Want to find out more about leadership and social work? Read our case studies.
Leadership is important to my work because it helps to define acceptable behaviours and is an opportunity to role model to staff with varying levels of experience.
Leadership is not just about making the best of what we are presented with. It is about asking the question – what could different look like?