“The day you convince yourself that you've mastered your craft or profession or even your relationships, is the day you cease to live. The thirst for knowledge and the mind's ravenous appetite for constant growth and evolution helps sustain a meaningful existence. If you cease to aim higher, you will surely fall short.” ~ Carlos Wallace

As we look into the supervisor competencies associated with Professionalism, we should begin by understanding that these abilities and skills involve assessing one's own performance, recognizing strengths and challenges, taking responsibility and learning from mistakes and shortcomings, and continually striving to clarify personal values and develop ethical practice professionally. Leaders are not only responsible for guiding and nurturing the teams they lead, but also having the ability to objectively look at themselves and champion their own professional journey.

“An important role of supervision in child welfare is to value and demonstrate the use of self-assessment and associated improvement relative to the MN Child Welfare Practice Framework. To do this effectively, a professional supervisor will examine personal values and behaviors to improve their own performance,” reports Connie Abbott-Foster, Leadership Consultant for the Training Academy. “They will seek input openly to learn and model this competency with their staff and others.” One of the Professionalism competencies states that supervisors must assume responsibility for their own performance and outcomes, and learn from mistakes. Look for guidance from your professional associations as well as the policies and procedures defined by your organization. “The competent supervisor knows and practices ethical values set forth by the National Association of Social Workers and the agency they serve,” adds Abbott-Foster.

Another supervisor competency calls on supervisors to represent a positive image to other service providers and to the community at large through use of the media, personal interactions, and presentations. Supervisors are often asked to share their organization's mission and vision, and help the general public better understand this work. “Another skill competent child welfare supervisors work to develop is their ability to interact with the public and stakeholders by delivering presentations at internal/external meetings, conferences, and workshops,” continues Abbott-Foster. It may feel superfluous to the goal of helping families and children, but by sharing the stories and intentions of this work supervisors will help others better understand its importance.

Later this summer, the Training Academy will host listening sessions to better understand the training needs of supervisors. As you pursue existing training opportunities for your own professional development, think about the areas of growth that you would like to explore, what gaps exist in current offerings, and what kinds of training would best serve your needs and those of other Minnesota child welfare professionals. Your input will help us identify the needs of Minnesota supervisors, and improve the training and coaching experience throughout the field.

Check out page 22 of the Minnesota Child Welfare Practice Framework to learn about the nine supervisor competencies associated with professionalism. Let us know if you have questions about this or any other competency, or how to integrate these competencies into your work. Learn more about the competencies related to professionalism for workers in an article found here.