What qualities make a good social worker?
A career in social work requires you to have many different qualities. Not everyone has what it takes. It calls for a certain type of person to excel in the demanding, responsible position and manage its unique pressures.
Want to know what actually makes a good social worker?
The qualities of a good social worker include being a strong communicator, empathetic, and flexible. Within this blog, we’ll explore these social worker qualities as well as other attributes and strengths to have and develop during your social work career.
12 qualities that are great for social workers to possess
- Strong communication
Looking for a deep dive into the different qualities of a social worker? We’ve outlined why they are so important to the profession and to employers recruiting new social workers into their teams.
Social work can be mentally, physically and emotionally draining. You will work with society’s most vulnerable people, and encounter issues such as alcoholism, physical abuse, sexual abuse, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, poverty, deprivation, drug addiction and mental illness.
It’s important to be strong when faced with these challenging situations. It’s a quality that can help you manage the pressures of the role. At times, things may not go to plan, your workload may become stressful and particular cases may be very upsetting. The ability to adapt, keep going and remain positive in the face of these types of challenges is something all social workers need.
Empathy is a quality that is so important to possess. Fundamentally, social work is about caring for others, and this care should always be accompanied by empathy.
To the people you work with, your presence can be a sign that something in their lives has gone wrong. This can be incredibly distressing. Being able to put yourself in a person’s shoes, and understand their hopes, fears, and concerns, is crucial to good practice.
Empathy also helps you to better understand those that you work with. It strengthens the relationships that you have and ensures the best approaches are followed to meet the needs of service users.
Within social work, there are lots of demands on your time. Your days will often be filled with managing your caseload, attending meetings, completing paperwork, and visiting service users. That’s not to mention the emergencies you may need to attend to, which can impact on your planned workload.
This is why being organised is an important quality to have as a social worker. Looking after your duties while tackling other tasks can be challenging, so it’s important to be able to manage your schedule effectively.
As a social worker, the decisions you make can have major repercussions on other people’s lives.
A good quality for social workers to have is objectivity. This includes being able to make decisions that are measured and not based on emotions. Social work is a very involved profession, but finding the best course of action often necessitates taking a step back. While it isn’t always possible to be truly objective, a healthy degree of detachment allows you to see the bigger picture.
Many service users may be reluctant to share their experiences with you or talk about their situation. Some may be instinctively mistrustful of social workers. This can make it difficult to build the trust needed for them to engage and speak openly with you.
You need to be able to meaningfully interact with service users and establish trusting respectful relationships. Building this level of understanding can be a slow process, so patience is a crucial quality for social workers to possess. It can take months, or longer, and setbacks may happen, but it’s important for you to be able to stay the course.
6. Strong communication
Social workers interact with people from all walks of life, so being a strong communicator is an essential quality to have. Your day could involve report writing, taking part in team meetings, calling another agency, or conducting visits. The ability to convey information to others, in varying circumstances, is extremely crucial.
You also need to have strong non-verbal communication skills. Being able to interact with people through a variety of methods will help you build relationships in otherwise difficult circumstances.
As the leading social work recruitment agency in the UK, Liquid has hundreds of jobs in social work available. Browse our vacancies and apply today.
A social worker requires a good deal of tact and diplomacy. You need to be able to ask difficult questions, talk about sensitive topics, and relay information that might not be well received.
Although your decisions may be made with the best intentions, it can be challenging to keep all parties happy. Delivering your message carefully and sensitively can help make it easier for a service user to understand and accept what will happen next.
As a social worker, you make judgement calls on sensitive situations, often involving vulnerable adults dependent on you for their wellbeing. Your responsibilities include examining service users’ living situations, health, relationships, or personal lives,
As such, being analytical is a crucial social worker quality to have. Attention to detail and problem-solving are also important and go hand-in-hand with an analytical way of thinking.
As you juggle multiple priorities, you also have to be ready for changing timelines. When plans change, you need to be able to quickly pivot to more urgent tasks. This makes flexibility an important social worker quality.
Others in more senior positions may also need you to take on some of their duties at short notice, to meet the deadlines for support. You might have to work on-call at times too. Your work will rarely fit into neat boxes, so being able to adapt to a fast-moving environment is very important.
As a social worker, you are likely to face different, demanding, and complex situations during your work, which can be stressful.
Passion is important for resilience. It can keep you focused on advocating for service users, even in the face of challenges. It can also help you to maintain your energy and keep working to make a positive impact to those you support.
Service users rely on you to during some of the most vulnerable and unstable moments in their lives. That’s what makes dependability an important quality for social workers to possess.
Dependability is also a quality that shows you’re reliable and committed. It can help you to build trust, forge strong relationships, and work collaboratively with service users, helping them to achieve their goals.
Another great quality for a social worker to possess is perceptiveness. It can help you to understand and respond to even the most complex and nuanced situations.
Perceptiveness can allow you to pick up on non-verbal signals, risks to health and wellbeing, and root causes of any issues. It can help you to support service users more effectively, find them the right solutions, and tailor interventions to their exact needs.
Discover social work opportunities with Liquid Personnel
At Liquid Personnel, we’re always looking for great social workers who possess exceptional qualities that bring positive change.
Our fantastic social work job vacancies give you valuable opportunities to excel in your field and grow your career prospects.
Many of the roles we recruit for are exclusive to us, so you’ll be able to apply for a diverse selection of jobs you won’t find anywhere else. We’ll assign you a dedicated consultant who’ll get to know your skillset and goals. That way, we can match you with roles that perfectly fit your preferences.
Register with Liquid Personnel today and start your career journey with a leading social work and healthcare recruitment agency.
As the UK’s leading social work recruiter, we offer the widest range of qualified temporary and permanent roles throughout children’s and adults’ services.