This book has a clear purpose and friendly, informative style. It combines management theories with social work practice examples, drawn primarily from local authority work, writes Carolyn Cousins.
It intends to address a concern that social work has not traditionally placed the professional development of managers very high on the agenda. There are lots of practical examples and case studies – for both reflection and action by the reader.
There is an overview of the changing management focus since the 1960s, including a quick tour of how business approaches and politics have shaped current approaches.
There are basic management sections, good for new managers, such as explanations of HR functions and recruitment processes. There are also sections on the importance of emotional intelligence and self-insight, both in managers and workers, and the challenges where managers often inherit poor performers.
These sections confirm the difficulties in managing a social worker that lacks empathy, self-awareness or self-management skills, but there is little in the way of new options for addressing these challenges.
There is useful discussion of the need for managers to have technical and conceptual skills, and also to have the vision to lead change that transforms the way services are delivered, rather than just incremental change.
Overall, the book encourages managers to know themselves as well as the goals of their organisation.
Carolyn Cousins is a service manager in fostering
This review is published in the 5 November issue of Community Care magazine