Showing posts with label behavior. Show all posts
Showing posts with label behavior. Show all posts

Monday, May 31, 2021

I am Human


The past three weeks were tremendously stressful. I inherited many cases with unresolved issues and needing pressing responses, countless tasks, and meetings required two to three times a day. To get these tasks completed promptly would require the assistance of more than one person. Also, with the amount of attention needed on this one case, it would be impossible to focus on or complete tasks for any other assigned clients.

Without giving any specific information on this case, it involved stabilizing housing, addressing violent behaviors, mental health issues, and countless meetings and paperwork. There are years of history on this case that one person could not review in three weeks. However, I was expected to know the case history in a short amount of time and also resolve the immediate concerns with little to no support.

I felt neglected and that I was being set up for failure. We call it being "Dumped on."   When a worker gets overwhelmed and is victim to the department's demands, it can cause burnout. It is a cycle. As a result, workers either quit or go on leave. In most cases, a social worker leaves for the following reasons: high caseloads, complicated issues with limited resources, lack of support from management, social workers being violently threatened by clients, and extreme demands from leadership, among other reasons.

Over the past three weeks, I could not come up for air, so to speak. I received numerous emails and phone calls regarding this one case. Everyone wanted something from me, including answers that I could not address because I was only recently assigned the case.  

I asked my manager to throw out a lifeline. I explained that there were many immediate needs to be addressed, some beyond my current skill level. For example, I have worked in a specialized unit for almost a decade. However, these newly assigned cases required skills that I am no longer familiar. There has also been a lot of updated procedures for the different task. The response I received was that I basically needed to learn quickly to get the job done.

I became emotionally fatigued, experienced terrible headaches, and felt no sense of accomplishment. They did not consider the fact that I am a single person: a human. I was expected to work non-stop, without error or support. . . like a computer.

Ultimately, this case remains unresolved despite all of my efforts and the stress I endured. 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Leadership Bullies

Holding the position of a supervisor or leader is a topic that is important to me. I have previously discussed my experience in other blogs about the supervisors I have worked with. It has had a significant impact on me and my work experience as a Child Welfare Social Worker. I believe the role can be an honor and should not be abused.  I also do not believe the position is for everyone.  

A person should have the ability and willingness to modify their communication styles when relating to employees individually. Everyone is not the same in personality and demeanor.  So, all staff should not be treated the same.

Initially, I could not imagine being a supervisor in my agency.  I thought you had to use the power given to bully, manipulate and set employees up for failure. This is because of what I experienced in the agency.  Some supervisors were verbally abusive, threatening, unsupportive, unavailable, and often treated all staff the same.  There was no flexibility in their supervision styles. The easy-going and compliant staff were treated the same as the staff that was insubordinate or challenging. This experience caused added stress in addition to all the other job tasks. 

However, I had the opportunity to work with a supervisor who was inspiring and supportive. Their style of supervision included the ability to be flexible and manage staff according to the situation. I learned it is possible to be respectful to your employees while being an authoritative figure.  This supervisor was compassionate and wanted to help staff practice self-care and to better serve their clients. They were able to balance a variety of skills that were needed to be a good supervisor.  This involved being knowledgeable about the job, listening to staff's needs, effective communication, being available, and teaching advocacy.  The supervisor was also well organized and unbiased.  This made the job pleasing, and as a result, I felt more comfortable navigating through the other bureaucratic obstacles.

This supervisor also encouraged and motivated me to obtain a higher college degree and to follow my dreams.

Supervisors need to recognize their employees' diverse personalities and how it is possible to be flexible in their leadership styles when relating to employees. It must be understood that when appropriately supervised, it is possible to have fantastic working relationships and minimal tension.  This can be done when supervisors cautiously manage the behaviors instead of the personalities of the workers. This is done by accepting personality differences and not letting them affect the leader's ability to supervise. Overall, leadership flexibility can produce productivity and reduce burnout as well as job turnover.

Why is it so Difficult Identifying our own Strengths?

I became a social worker because I enjoy helping others, seeing people happy, and succeeding. My beloved mother always loved helping others....