Public policy is a very important government function. Being a tool that addresses various challenges in the society, it is the outcome of several people working together to solve common problems. The public policy describes the government actions that are intended to solve problems and better the living standards of her citizens (Gerston, 2014). The policies usually come in the form of laws and regulations. In the United States, the policies are made at state, federal and national governments. Public policies undergo some stages starting with identification and awareness of a problem to evaluation and termination. As a social worker, the following skills are fundamental: active listening, emotional intelligence, organization, critical thinking, tolerance, setting boundaries, empathy, communication and inner strength (Hepworth et al., 2016).
The basic role of a social worker involves active listening. This entails being engaged in conversations and reflecting on what clients say for them to know you understand them. Good listening skills build client's confidence as it establishes trust and respect. Active listening also makes clients think that you understand them.
Emotional intelligence is another skill which is very fundamental to a social worker. People to decide to be social workers usually have high emotional intelligence. This entails empathy, self-awareness and being sensitive to others. Social work requires one to balance what they know already and what they perceive.
The organization is also a very important social skill. Besides helping clients, social workers offer case management services which include billing, making phone calls, maintaining collateral relationships and networking with other social providers. A great deal of organization is necessary to provide psychological support and clinical case management.
As a social worker, helping your clients will require you to think critically and creatively. This is because people are complex and clients frequently inquire help from several domains of their lives. This also requires tolerance. Social workers, therefore, need to be culturally responsive and approach every client with respect and openness.
Setting boundaries is another skill which is very important to social workers. Setting boundaries between a social worker and clients help create a healthier work-life balance. Being a more effective professional and a happier individual requires separation between office work and enjoying one's time.
Social work requires a cultural, intellectual and emotional understanding of others. Without these, helping clients may almost be impossible. Empathy entails imagining oneself in another person's situation and trying to feel what the other person is experiencing. Most individuals who choose to be social workers are naturally empathic. However, it can be practiced as well.
Finally, social work requires communication and inner strength. Social workers must talk about what is within their realm of possibility and what is not. Such conversations may be hard to have especially when you are trying everything within your rich to help a client. Besides communication, social workers must have inner strength. Social work may be associated with various emotional challenges which can take a lot of you. It is, therefore, necessary that you fortify personal strengths and capabilities which will help you derive more fulfillment from your work and become effective in helping clients.
In conclusion, active listening, emotional intelligence, organization, critical thinking, tolerance, setting boundaries, empathy, communication and inner strength are fundamental skills that every social worker should possess. In the policy-making process, the area that requires more skills is the agenda building. With these skills, it becomes easy to come up with better agenda for the policy.
Hepworth, D. H., Rooney, R. H., Rooney, G. D., & Strom-Gottfried, K. (2016). Empowerment Series: Direct Social Work Practice: Theory and Skills. Nelson Education.
Gerston, L. N. (2014). Public policy making: Process and principles. Routledge.
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