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Liz: I have a remarkable colleague, Dr. Valerie Leyva, who inspires students and faculty alike. A few years ago, Val sponsored a group of students working on their master of social work (MSW) degrees as part of an intense language and cultural immersion learning experience in Mexico. The program operates in a moderately sized city in central Mexico along with a cluster of language institutes that have ongoing relationships with U.S. universities. Some of Val’s students experienced for the first time being part of the “other”—a minority population who does not understand or speak the dominant language. For some students, those of Mexican American heritage, the experience had the aura of returning to their roots.

However, the point of this story is not about the transformative experiences of central California MSW students mentored by Dr. Valerie Leyva. Instead, it is about a lesson learned from another student group’s experiences. That story tells of the actions of a well-meaning student group from another university. It is a story of intended philanthropy, generosity, compassion, charity (readers may pick the appropriate term) that went wrong.

A large east coast U.S. metropolitan college that annually sponsors student groups (not social work majors—I’d like to think that made a difference) sent

Four

Leadership Ethics for Social Workers

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice

students to the language program in central Mexico. Cultural side trips, includ-ing visiting local communities, were an important part of the immersion cur-riculum. The students came back from one visit powerfully impacted by their observations of the filth and poverty of a small Indio village in which families “had nothing” and the children’s only opportunity for play “was in the dirt with sticks.” Similar to Native American tribes in the United States, the term Indio refers to members of Mexico’s indigenous population.

This student group returned to their U.S. university determined to help the residents of this village and, after deliberation, decided to give to the village a cow. The cow could provide milk for the children and be an asset that villagers would own in common. The cow would perhaps have calves, and ultimately provide beef and add protein to the villagers’ diets. The U.S. student group spent the year rais-ing money to buy the cow.

The following year, a new student group arrived at the language institute with the determination and cash (credit cards not being a medium of exchange in this rural area of Mexico) to buy a cow. The curandero (local natural healer) who organized and facilitated the original tour found a cow and bought it for the students to present to the village. The group of students came to the village, lead-ing the cow and presented the cow to the village elder as a gift to the community. End of story? Not quite.

The language instructor who accompanied the students reported that, when presented with the cow, the village elder said, “What in the hell are we supposed to do with this cow?” Although translated to the students in a more polite way, students were somewhat put off by the lack of visible gratitude. And the next day they were horrified to hear that the cow had been slaughtered. As the story continued to unfold, it was learned that the cow was old and diseased and that the curandero had purchased it from a cousin. Val said, in retelling the tale, “I’ve been to that village. The only livestock there are a few goats and chickens. The village has no grazing area, and if the students had looked around, they could have seen the village had no way to feed a cow.”

So, what do we take from this story? First of all, the students didn’t know what the villagers wanted or needed because the students didn’t ask them. The students, with good intentions, did what they thought best for the villagers. Second, while gift giving is a tradition in many cultures—a way to honor, to express gratitude, to give thanks—a gift is valuable only if it is usable. As well meaning as I assume these students were, they were clueless about issues of culture and context, and they viewed the world solely through their U.S. cultural lens.

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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Four: Leadership Ethics for Social Workers

FACILITATIVE LEADERSHIP FROM THE SOCIAL WORK PERSPECTIVE

This chapter lays the foundation for facilitative leadership from the unique social work perspective. The facilitative leader is different from other leaders and leadership styles. Social work’s Code of Ethics and social work  practice principles contribute to the value-based leadership that is part of the facilitative leader’s core. In addition, the environment and con-text of social work is evolving. Rank and Hutchison (2000), who study social work leadership, asserted that “globalization, managed care, com-puterization, the Internet, welfare reform, privatization, diversity, and the increasing gap between the rich and the poor are just some of the macro forces currently affecting social work practice” (pp. 487–488). The values and principles discussed in this chapter become even more important as a strong foundation to guide practice nationally and internationally in the rapidly changing environment.

Among the important expectations of social work leadership are cultural sensitivity and competence. Social work embraces differences. Spontaneous energy emerges as we participate in a group in which true dialogue and deeper understanding (discussed more in Chapter 7) result as members contribute from a place of trust. It is these times that create synergy—genuine sharing occurs, and all participants begin to better comprehend others’ perspectives and the unique meaning they make of their lives and experiences. Cournoyer (2005), author of The Social Work Skills Workbook, states “Social Workers consistently demonstrate the fol-lowing essential facilitative qualities in their work with clients: Empathy, respect, [and] authenticity” (p. 6). Whether your client is one person or a community of thousands, these qualities are fundamental to leading from an ethical social work perspective. In addition, leadership development has become increasingly important in recent years to the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE, 2008). In 2008, CSWE developed and adopted the Leadership Institute with programs designed to “promote future leaders in social work education, higher education, and the social work profes-sion.” Fisher (2009), a researcher of leadership in social work manage-ment, expressed concern that “leadership development [is] essential for social workers and the profession as a whole” (p. 356).

A question readers may be asking themselves at this point is whether social work leadership differs from leadership demonstrated in other

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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professions. Rank and Hutchison (2000) explored that very question. Data from interviews with 150 social work leaders, including deans and direc-tors in academia and presidents and executive directors of National Asso-ciation of Social Work (NASW) chapters, identified several themes that differentiate social work leadership from other disciplines. Those themes included “Commitment to the NASW Code of Ethics, a systemic perspec-tive, a participatory leadership style, altruism, and concern about the pub-lic image of the profession” (Fisher, 2009, p. 493). Within participatory and altruistic leadership styles, social work leaders were described as “more collaborative, inclusive, humanistic, democratic, adaptable, process-ori-ented, noncompetitive, and less autocratic” (Fisher, 2009, p. 493).

CSWE (2008/2010)1 developed educational policy standards used to accredit social work education programs. Educational Policy 2.1.9 requires programs to address the increasing complexity of social issues and sys-tems that involve social work and social workers:

Educational Policy 2.1.9—Respond to contexts that shape prac-tice. Social workers are informed, resourceful, and proactive in responding to evolving organizational, community, and soci-etal contexts at all levels of practice. Social workers recognize that the context of practice is dynamic, and use knowledge and skill to respond proactively. Social workers

■■ continuously discover, appraise, and attend to changing lo cales, populations, scientific and technological develop-ments, and emerging societal trends to provide relevant ser-vices; and

■■ provide leadership in promoting sustainable changes in ser-vice delivery and practice to improve the quality of social services (p. 6).

Obviously, social workers would need to be super beings with super pow-ers to accomplish what has already been discussed thus far in this chapter. Numerous values and ethical considerations could be covered in depth in this chapter. However, for our purposes here, five discussion areas have been selected as essential to facilitative leadership from a social work perspective: (a) inclusion, (b) strengths-based leadership, (c) power and the difference between power “over” and power “with,” (d) oppression and social justice, and (e) the elusive but critically important concept of empowerment.

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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Four: Leadership Ethics for Social Workers

INCLUSION

Inclusion is not identified specifically in the Code of Ethics as a social work value, but perhaps it should be. One could argue that the Code incorpo-rates inclusion as an a priori requirement of numerous ethical standards. For exle, the first standard, Social Workers’ Ethical Responsibili-ties to Clients, § 1.02 Self-Determination (2008),2 states, “Social workers respect and promote the right of clients to self- determination and assist clients in their efforts to identify and clarify their goals.” Inclusion is essential for self-determination. The client may be an individual, a pop-ulation, an organization, a community, or any combination of these and, in our opinion, inclusion is necessarily embedded in self-determination. Inclusion undergirds facilitative leadership.

A core question about inclusion is: Who should be involved? Well, everyone. Qualifiers are discussed later in this section, but first let’s talk more about facilitative leadership and inclusion. A facilitative leader of a group, who, as readers now know, means a person with or without formal authority to lead, may feel pressure to get the job done. Those who have had this experience often conclude that the most effec-tive way to accomplish the  task is to ensure that the group is small, because the larger the group, the more time it takes to make decisions. “More time” is often translated to  mean “less efficient.” We acknowl-edge that there may be times when a very small and focused group is the ideal forum in which to address a particular issue. However, we believe these times would be very rare within the range of complex social issues and systems addressed by those engaged in human and community services.

Returning to the question “Who should be involved?”, the qualified answer is “Everyone who has a stake in the outcome.” A stakeholder is any person who has a vested interest in the group’s work, whether positive or negative. In some instances, that includes all the different departments of an organization, it may involve clients or consumers and agency folks, or the issue could affect an entire community. In reality, everyone may not mean everyone, because it may not be feasible to find a room to hold thou-sands. However, the facilitative leader needs to learn who is at the table and, equally important, who is not at the table but should be. At the very least, the stakeholders (clients) affected should have representation. The term client is used frequently in this book. Client is a common term in both

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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micro and macro practice. In micro practice, client refers to the individual (child, teen, and adult), the couple, or the family with whom you work in some predetermined therapeutic manner. In macro practice, client refers to the community, organization, system, or group with whom the facilita-tive leader works.

Inclusion has a second meaning in facilitative leadership. Not only should stakeholders be physically included as members of the team, committee, group, and so on, but also each member should have voice. Voice means equal access to participation for each member of the group. Freire (1993/2000) described the phenomenon of voice as individuals’ ability to name the world. When voices are absent or precluded from par-ticipation, those in control engage overtly or covertly in a “sophisticated form of censorship: omission” (p. 16).

Facilitative leaders hold the perspective that knowledge is socially constructed. According to Freire (2000), “reality is really a process, under-going constant transformation” (p. 75). As such, all team members are co-creators of knowledge and coinvestigators of the problem to be solved. The facilitative leader’s use of dialogue, discussed in Chapter 7, helps group members understand that status is left at the door. The board presi-dent is no more privileged to speak than the administrative assistant. Indeed, among the group, most likely it is consumers that have greater expert knowledge and whose lived experiences may be most relevant in learning about the challenge and developing solutions. Inclusion means that all stakeholders at the table have equal rights and opportunities to participate. The Code of Ethics is clear:

Social workers should not practice, condone, facilitate, or collaborate with any form of discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, political belief, religion, immigration status, or mental or physical disability. (NASW, 2008, section 4.02, Discrimination)

Garner (2000), consultant, trainer, and author of numerous books and articles on teamwork, identified leadership roles and responsibili-ties that he termed “maintenance-oriented leadership” (p. 20). Table 4.1 identifies several of Garner ’s leadership roles that could be used by a facilitative leader to ensure participation and voice for all members of the group.

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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Four: Leadership Ethics for Social Workers

STRENGTHS-BASED LEADERSHIP

There are many derogatory phrases to describe groups that are led, such as “It’s like herding cats” or “We’ll whip them into shape.” Such descrip-tions depict those led as fairly inadequate beings who, absent a strong and powerful leader to take command, will accomplish little. However, this mindset clashes with deeply held social work ideals. In social work, there is a saying: “The client is not the problem; the problem is the prob-lem.” Social workers understand that clients are competent people with strengths that they can use to effect change. The facilitative leader rec-ognizes that she is in the company of a whole group of people, each of whom comes with many strengths that can be brought to bear to solve problems. In other words, there is a challenge in facilitative leadership, but the challenge is the issue—the problem to be addressed; the challenge

Table 4.1 Supportive Leadership Roles

Leadership Role Behaviors

Gatekeeper Call on members whose body language indicates they want to speak or who are cut off by more assertive members. This can enhance equitable participation.

Encourager Your words of encouragement and enthusiasm towards individuals and the team can positively reinforce the processes of team communication and decision making.

Supporter/Acceptor Help create space so that all contributions are listened to and acknowledged. Verbally support anyone who risks sharing innovative or creative ideas.

Harmonizer Respond to tension created by different opinions by affirming multiple sides of an issue and their legitimacy. Model respect due to persons and their ideas.

Compromiser Search for and articulate common ground as different positions emerge. Often, room for compromise exists and different opinions within the team overlap.

Adapted from Helping others through teamwork: A handbook for professionals (2nd ed.), H. Garner (2002, p. 20). Washington, DC: CWLA Press.

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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is not inherent inadequacy of group members to solve the issue. We may be beginning to sound like a broken record, but this particular concept cannot be overstressed. Many, many frustrations can occur in group work, and it is so easy to identify the problem as one or a few individuals who are seen as obstructing the group’s work. More about those viewed as obstructing will be covered a little later in this chapter.

What Does the Strengths Perspective Mean?

Saleebey (2009) states that “almost anything can be considered a strength under certain conditions” (p. 97). That is because a strengths perspective assumes that all persons have multiple capacities, assets, and resources that can increase efficacy. Building solutions around strengths and capacities provides a more solid foundation for change; thus, the strengths perspec-tive focuses on the strengths of individuals and groups rather than their limitations (Johnson #038; Yanca, 2010). Johnson and Yanca (2010) explained that it “moves from looking at deficits to looking at abilities and assets; this approach recognizes the importance of empowerment, resilience, healing, and wholeness” (pp. 8–9). Strengths-based leadership means that people in your group or community “are enabled to identify, define, appreciate, and mobilize their own strengths” (McCashen, 2005, p. 185).

Components of Strengths-Based Leadership

Saleebey (2009, pp. 15–19)3 identified several principles that are relevant to facilitative leadership from a social work perspective. Among them are:

1. Every individual, group, family, and community has strengths. Within this principle is acknowledgment of the inherent knowledge and wisdom that already exist, the need to discern those resources, and the recognition of the potential for achieving goals.

2. Adversity may be injurious but also can be a source of challenge and opportunity. For exle, resilience is a strength that can result from struggles that group members have experienced in their lives, communities, and work.

3. Facilitative leaders recognize that they do not know the upper limits of the capacity to change and grow and take group member aspirations seriously.

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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Four: Leadership Ethics for Social Workers

4. Facilitative leaders may serve best through collaboration. The facilitative leader has expert knowledge but is not the only group or community member with relevant expertise and understanding. (pp. 15–17)

As is evident through the principles above, using the strengths per-spective means that the facilitative leader does not pathologize. This holds true whether considering persons on the team or articulating the issue or challenge to be addressed. One tool that lends itself to strengths-based work is called appreciative inquiry. Appreciative inquiry, developed in the 1980s by David Cooperrider (McKergow, 2005), presents a positive model for change. It focuses on what is right rather than what is wrong, and asks: What is the best of what is? What might it be? These and other questions are used to enhance the group or community’s potential. Terms such as co-evolutionary and co-construction help groups work to move toward the ideal (Cooperrider #038; Whitey, 2004). (See the full description of apprecia-tive inquiry in the Appendix.)

Another strengths-based approach, from the works of Pransky and McMillen (2009), is described as “strengths from the inside out.” This model is founded on the following premises:

■■ What people already have inside of them is their greatest strength.

■■ People who learn and understand this free themselves from “the prison of their own minds.”

■■ This means “there is limitless potential … the possibility of individual, community, and societal change moves to a far deeper level.” (p. 241)

As support for the validity of their model, Pransky and McMillen (2009) use Bowman’s (1997) meta-analysis of posttraumatic stress dis-order (PTSD). Bowman wondered why such a “minute fraction” of persons who experience traumatic events develop PTSD. She found that the answer was in how people thought about their experiences. In other words, how these people structured what the event meant deter-mined its effect on them, and their subjective well-being was not deter-mined by the toxic experience.

In a similar vein, Bandura’s (1989) work regarding people’s success when making health-related behavior choices in such areas as alcohol abuse or exercise found “self-efficacy” to be the best short-and long-term predictor of success. “The crucial factor appeared to be whether people

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice

believed they could exercise control over potential threats to themselves” (Pransky #038; McMillen, 2009, p. 247; see also Pransky, 1998). The bottom line is that the facilitative leader comprehends that a group or team or community is a social system and helps members see and value their indi-vidual and collective strengths. It is important that they understand this process as elemental in promoting growth and change. This brings us to “power” in the leader and the group, and to the next section, in which we discuss how power is expressed.

POWER-OVER VERSUS POWER-WITH

As a facilitative leader you have power. Remember, you can be a facilita-tive leader not just as the appointed leader but wherever you sit at the table. As such, you have power as does every other group member. How you use that power is the focus of this section.

Speer and Hughey (1995) identified three commonly held attributes of power: Those with the greatest resources have the greatest power; those who can construct or eliminate barriers for others’ participation can control discourse and public debate; and those who control information can wield forces that shape myths, ideology, and shared consciousness (p. 732). Many individuals are leery of power because of its potential for abuse. A well-known saying generally attributed to Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton in the late 1800s is “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Boulding (1989) defined power as the ability to get what one wants. It can also be viewed as having the ability and control of resources to make something happen.

Multiple authors have identified types of power and power rela-tionships. For exle, Boulding (1989) discussed productive power and destructive power. He cautioned that both have positive and negative implications depending upon use. For instance, a surgeon’s destruction of cancer cells is a positive use of destructive power. Another illustration is that social workers’ advocacy for repeal of discriminatory legislation may destroy a law that unfairly affected some groups. Prior to a road trip from Oklahoma to Florida, Liz’s friend Natalie sent her a news clip about a Louisiana law that required a woman to obtain her husband’s permission to sell a car—even if they were divorced. Is the law still in effect? Was it ever in effect? The answer is not known, but if these provi-sions are in fact statutes, might a movement to eliminate them be a good

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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Four: Leadership Ethics for Social Workers

case for positive use of destructive power? Liz did not try to sell her car on the drive through Louisiana.

French and Raven’s (1959) seminal paper, “The Bases of Social Power,” proposed five types of power. Discussed in numerous social work text-books on  human behavior and the social environment, and macro and community practice, French and Raven’s schema includes the compo-nents in Table 4.2. Their labels regarding types of power provide posi-tive and negative connotations of power, and it may be apparent that the

Adapted from Contemporary Human behavior theory: A Critical perspective for social work, S. P. Robbins, P. Chatterjee, #038; E. R. Canda (2006). Allyn and Bacon, p. 368.

5 Types of Power Bases of PowerExpressions of Power and

Possible Outcomes

Reward Perception that those with power have the ability to dispense rewards.

Gives or withholds material or symbolic rewards. Affects possession of money, property, or perceived stature.

Coercive Perception that those with power can punish others.

May deprive others of livelihood, commit violence, or force a particular outcome.

Legitimate Perception of an individual’s or group’s authority, based on status or title, to make and enforce rules.

Prescribes others’ behaviors. Perceives self or is perceived by others as having the right to do so.

Referent Perception that one or a group can expand power if they emulate the individual or group that currently holds power.

Commands respect from others. Charisma, persuasion are used, and the individual or group acts as a dominant force.

Expert Perception that a person or group possesses specialized knowledge and experience.

Assumes or is accorded the expert role by virtue of knowledge that may or may not be shared with others.

Table 4.2 French and Raven’s Types of Power

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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bases, expressions, and possible outcomes may result in positive or nega-tive consequences. However, one question for facilitative leadership in social work to ask in any leadership scenario is: Are the expressions of power liberatory? Even a benign dictator is a dictator.

One dynamic of power is that it may result in an unequal exchange between one person with more power over a person with less power. In social work, we call this power-over. The power-over concept refers to traditional use of power, perceived as hierarchical and authoritarian, to obtain what is wanted from another. (Feminists would add “patriarchal.”) Whether the individual who controls and wields the power is a despot or benign dictator, power-over is contrary to social work best practice and is not a useful facilitative leadership tool. Many jobs in social work carry inherent power over clients, and it is incumbent on the social worker to critically self-assess the use and abuse of power.

One element for critical review of one’s mass and exercise of power is to examine if the power-over was used as the means to achieve a goal or the end—whether power itself was the goal. This request for professional self-reflection should not be interpreted to imply that using power-over to achieve a goal is acceptable; however, it is important to genuinely exam-ine one’s motivation and drive in the exercise of power. Power-over is appropriate in some situations: Power-over dictates that drivers should not go above 20 miles per hour in a school zone or you may pay a fine (or, worse yet, a child may be hurt). So, power-over is a mechanism to maintain social controls, some of which are needed to avoid chaos. How-ever, we recommend that you, as a facilitative leader, should avoid using power-over as a strategy.

The preferred style for the facilitative leader is power-with. It is a shared power approach. In power-with, group members are co-investigators. All participate in identifying the questions the group should ask to better grasp the issue at hand. Each participant’s contribution adds to the under-standing of the problem. All members are also co-creators of knowledge and solutions. Governance is shared. Dialogue and participation guide shared decision making. Power-with assumes some of the principles already discussed in this chapter. It assumes inclusion. It also assumes that all members come with strengths and that the potential for change is limitless. In the words of management consultant and trainer Terez (2007/2010), power-with “will not only change the world, but also change the way the world changes” (p. 3).

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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Four: Leadership Ethics for Social Workers

OPPRESSION AND SOCIAL JUSTICE

The facilitative leader is sensitive to vulnerable populations and issues of privilege and oppression. Historically, many groups have had their voices silenced, including cultural and ethnic minorities, women, children, the elderly, and people with disabilities, to name a few. Members of the domi-nant society may operate from a paradigm in which they know the best, most effective, and advanced solution for whatever challenge is being worked on by the group. However, as discussed earlier, facilitative lead-ers operate from a social constructivist position, meaning what is known is socially constructed. The facilitative leader, using strategic questions, can often help group members to recall ground rules adopted early in the group’s formation and re-discuss (assuming it was discussed as an under-lying assumption early on) the social construction of knowledge.

Understanding social constructionism is important because, in gen-eral, the dominant culture, those with the most power (readers may want to review the previous section on power at this point) frame knowledge or what is identified as truth. Knowledge is often presented as objective, based on impartial observation and research. For exle, researchers may conclude that “vanilla” is the favorite flavor of ice cream; it is chosen twice as often as chocolate. Are the researchers truly objective? How was the question framed? What if the researchers did not include strawberry; or the wonderful mango ice cream made in Miami, FL; or Roger’s favorite, Cherry Garcia? Social construction views the research itself as a subjec-tive reflection of the researchers’ bias as well as the researcher’s power to construct the questions and interpret the answers. The facilitative leader is aware that each person in the group understands the world through his or her own creation of meaning, neither inherently good or bad, but that it is important to understand that one member’s reality is different than another’s. When an individual imposes his or her values and understand-ing of the world on another, oppression may result.

Oppression can occur within the group or affect those outside the group—perhaps those most affected by the adaptive problem being undertaken by the group. Similar to the story of the students and the cow at the beginning of this chapter, the group may, from its perspective, think it knows what is needed for an outside population being “helped.” Did the students ever engage in dialogue with the villagers to find out their view of their own lives? Did the students ask what the villagers would

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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like as an expression of gratitude? The Indios in this village were, after all, contributing to the students’ education and understanding of living in the village. Freire’s (1993/2000) poignant description in Pedagogy of the Oppressed describes a “schizophrenic colonial” experience of “being pres-ent and yet not visible, being visible and yet not present” (p. 11).

The difficulty of recognizing and dealing with oppression is that the opposite of oppression is not absence of oppression; the opposite of oppres-sion is privilege. Adding complexity to this dynamic is the difficulty in recognizing privilege. For persons of privilege, that privilege for the most part is invisible and unearned. When the students gifted the villagers with a cow, their intentions were charitable but, in on operating from their own privilege, the students had no clue as to the reality of the villagers.

Tatum (1997), president of Spelman College and author on racism in the United States, explained that it is impossible not to internalize the dominant culture. Tatum uses smog as a metaphor—we breathe smog in and out our entire lives just as we breathe in and out bias, stereotypes, and myths that the dominant culture holds about the “other.” Tatum was talking about cultural racism and systematic privilege based on race, but she acknowledged the impact of other “isms,” for exle, sexism, het-erosexism, ageism, and discussed that the intersection of multiple “isms” lify the racism or oppression experienced.

It is important for facilitative leaders to work to identify and decon-struct whatever privilege they may hold—level of education, gender, sex, race, class, and so on. One of the most widely known works regard-ing privilege as exists in the United States is McIntosh’s (1989) “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.” McIntosh related her ini-tial understanding of privilege as it affected sex. White men, even if they viewed women as disadvantaged, were unaware of their own privilege or how they were advantaged. McIntosh hypothesized a parallel phenom-enon occurred regarding race, and stated, “As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something which puts others at a disad-vantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege which puts me at an advantage” (para. 4). McIntosh continued,

I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence. My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person or as a participant in a damaged culture. (para. 7–8)

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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McIntosh’s (1989) exploration of White privilege led her to develop a series of statements designed to make White privilege more visible. Sev-eral exles include:

■■ If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchas-ing housing in an area, which I can afford and in which I would want to live.

■■ I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.

■■ I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.

■■ I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.

■■ When I am told about our national heritage or about “civilization,” I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.

■■ I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.

■■ I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to “the person in charge,” I will be facing a person of my race.

Being conscious of privilege and oppression are precursors to understanding social injustice and working toward social justice. A  social justice framework challenges a system of unearned privi-lege. Social justice is more than equal opportunity, it is equal access to resources and decreased inequality. Social Work Speaks (2009), a compendium of policy statements published by NASW, states, “Social work can be proud of its heritage. It is the only profession imbued with social justice as its fundamental value and concern” (p. 205). In its mission statement, the Social Work Department at the California State University Stanislaus’ (2009) states that its mission is “to advance social justice” and continues:

This teaching and learning environment enables faculty, students and graduates to collaborate with others to transform the conditions which contribute to privilege and oppression. Graduates are prepared to … to work with individuals, families and communities to promote personal and collective liberation.

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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The social work program identifies social justice as “a professional obligation of social workers to attempt to improve the quality of all peo-ple’s lives.” The program further believes that

All individuals in society have a right to civil liberties, equal opportu-nity, fairness, and participation in political, economic, educational and social realms. Social justice in action involves seeking social change by working with, organizing, inspiring, and empowering others to create solutions to social, economic, and political oppression and injustice. (Social Work Department, California State University Stanislaus, 2009)

The facilitative leader works toward socially just practice in all his permutations of human service work. Social justice is integral to the prac-tices of facilitative leadership, whether the challenge is to evaluate the need to extend agency hours into the evening so that hourly workers will not lose income by accessing your services or to understand why one of the local high schools has a 50% dropout rate.

Freire (1993/2000) warned that, absent a social justice focus, mis-placed blame too often becomes reality. One danger posed by people who mean well and want to help solve social problems but who have not developed critical consciousness “lies in the risk of shifting the focus of the investigation from the meaningful themes to the people themselves, thereby treating the people as the objects of the investigation” (p. 107). Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher in the 6th century B.E. and author of Tao Te Ching, said, “Knowing others is wisdom; knowing oneself is enlighten-ment” (Tzu, 6th century BE).

EMPOWERMENT

Socially just practice leads facilitative leaders to address the “structural, social, political and economic realities that marginalize and disempower people” (McCashen, 2005, p. 15). However, social justice cannot occur without empowerment, and empowerment is not an attribute that one per-son can confer on another. Empowerment is at once simple and one of the most complex constructs in social work. What is empowerment? Kosci-ulek (1999), a leader in empowerment theory in work with persons with disabilities and the field of rehabilitation services, defined empowerment as “the process by which people who have been rendered powerless or

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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marginalized develop the skills to take control of their lives and their envi-ronment” (p. 197). Can empowerment be facilitated? How does one lead in an empowering way?

A joke sometimes shared in social work circles asks: How many social workers does it take to change a light bulb? None—social workers empower the light bulb to change itself. However, the joke is a misnomer. One can-not “empower” someone else. If, as stated above, the facilitative leader cannot make members of the group empowered, then the facilitative leader can neither grant empower-ment nor transform others to become empowered. This begs the question: What is the role of the facilitative leader in relation to empowerment?

Saleebey (1992) discussed how one must operate from an “empower-ment agenda [which] is not based on returning power to the people, but on discovering the power with the people” (p. 8). Rappaport (1990), who coined the term empowerment agenda, stated that

To be committed to an empowerment social agenda and to be con-sistent with that agenda in one’s approach to social science theory, research, and action is to be committed to identifying, facilitating, or creating contexts in which heretofore silent and isolated people, those who are “outsiders” in various settings, organizations, and communi-ties, gain understanding, voice and influence over decisions that affect their lives. (p. 52)

Empowerment is linked to such other concepts as self-efficacy and developing a critical consciousness (Robbins, Chatterjee, #038; Canda, 2006, p. 94). Freire (1993/2000) described critical consciousness as developing an awareness and understanding of how the dominant power structure works to maintain status quo of those with power and preserves power-lessness of those without. It is only when one develops critical conscious-ness that one can act upon the environment rather than be acted upon.

Last, empowerment is linked to liberation and hope (Saleebey, 2009). Acts of empowerment free individuals and groups to work outside the boundaries that previously trapped them. This liberation energizes and allows groups to tap into hope and new ways of doing, seeing, and being in the world. Groups who become empowered transcend previous

How many social workers does it take to change a light bulb?None—social workers empower the light bulb to change itself.

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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struggles and allow themselves to create new visions of what might be and how they can achieve their vision. As social workers and facilitative leaders, there is nothing more rewarding than this true collaborative and just practice of social work. Perhaps McCashen (2005) stated it best: “The implication is that all practice needs to be honest, open, transparent, con-sultative, inclusive and collaborative” (p. 14).

What might those Indio villagers have wanted or needed instead of a cow? We don’t know. We can be assured, though, that when they are asked the right questions, when those asking are willing to surrender their power, to facilitate dialogue and listen, when the villagers feel their own sense of power—they will give us the answer.

In leadership positions, social workers generally interact with multi-person groups, and thus your work on the task force, committee, or com-munity falls within the parameters of macro practice. But in facilitative leadership, use of the term client may be a misnomer. In macro practice generally, but specifically in facilitative leadership, the social worker works with colleagues or partners. Every member of the group is a co-owner of the group’s work and its outcomes.

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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SOCIAL WORK EXERCISES

Exercise 4.1

With a partner, (a) create a list of the top 10 reasons why recipients should be involved in creating and running the programs from which they receive services and (b) discuss why a facilitative leader may consider it an act of oppression or social injustice to develop a program without involving recipients in its design and goals.

a. Write your list here:

b. Summarize the main points of your discussion regarding (b) above:

Exercise 4.2

Create the following scenario (movie) in your mind: You serve on an agency planning committee in the mental health clinic that employs you. The Hmong population is a growing minority in your community, so you advocate for specialized clinical and cultural competency training to better serve Hmong individuals and families. One of your colleagues on the com-mittee has vociferously disagreed with every point you have made in your attempts to facilitate change. The colleague says the training is not in the budget; doubts that anyone local has the expertise to conduct the training; states that Hmong do not believe in mental health services; and argues that Hmong individuals and families go to a shaman or clan elder to pay homage or arrange sacrifices to deal with spirits; and, lastly, that none of the clinicians speak Hmong, so the Hmong residents would not access the mental health clinic even if clinicians did receive cultural competence training.

You must choose how to respond to your colleague, and you have mul-tiple options. Envision your reply and the subsequent reaction by your col-league and the whole committee in response to each of the following options below. What do you think would be the short-and long-term consequences?

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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1. Fight fire with fire: Escalate as your colleague escalates. Use equal or greater force to make your points.

2. Give in: Apologize or walk away and completely drop your idea. State that your colleague is probably right. Lose face.

3. Defend yourself: Counter each point with an opposing view or concern. You have been thinking about this issue for quite some time, and you have facts and demographic data at your fingertips.

4. Use an issue-based position of curiosity: Invite criticism and advice. Acknowledge the colleague; ask what could be done differently. Stay in a position of curiosity and not judgment. Try to avoid taking a hard position that reduces possibility for compromise or collaboration.

Exercise 4.3

Consider how power dynamics play out in your social work practice through the following activities:

Describe a situation with a group in which you clearly had power-over in the process as a facilitative leader. Was this power given to you by the group or assumed by you? How did that shape your actions in the group process?

Describe another situation in which you had power-with a group as a facili-tative leader. Was the group willing to give you power over the process? If so, how did you avoid being perceived as the power person?

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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NOTES

1. In addition, see CSWE’s Educational Policy 2.1.10(a)–(d)—Engage, assess, intervene, and evaluate with individuals, families, groups, organizations, and communities. “Practice knowledge includes identifying, analyzing, and implementing evidence-based interventions designed to achieve client goals; using research and technological advances; evaluating program outcomes and practice effectiveness; developing, analyzing, advocating, and providing leadership [emphasis added] for policies and services; and promoting social and economic justice” (2010, pp. 6–7).

2. Ethical Standard 1.02 Self Determination. See also Ethical Standard 6, Social Workers’ Ethical Responsibilities to the Broader Society.

3. These principles closely follow Saleeby’s six principles of the strengths per-spective, adapted for facilitative leaders.

REFERENCES

Bandura, A. (1989). Human agency in social cognitive theory. American Psychologist, 44, 1175–1184.

Boulding, K. E. (1989). Three faces of power. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Bowman, M. (1997). Individual differences in posttraumatic response: Problems with the

adversity-distress connection. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.Cooperrider, D. L., #038; Whitey, D. (2004). A positive revolution in change: Appreciative inquiry.

Retrieved from http://appreciativeinquiry.case.edu/uploads/whatisai.pdfCouncil on Social Work Education. (2008). CSWE Leadership Institute. Retrieved from

http://www.cswe.org/CentersInitiatives/CSWELeadershipInst.aspxCouncil on Social Work Education. (2010). Educational policy 2.1.9. Educational Policy

and Accreditation Standards. Retrieved from http://www.cswe.org/File.aspx?id =13780 (Original work published 2008)

Cournoyer, B. (2005). The social work skills workbook (4th ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.

Fisher, E. A. (2009). Motivation and leadership in social work management: A review of theories and related studies. Administration in Social Work, 33(4), 347–367.

Freire, P. (2000). Pedagogy of the oppressed. New York, NY: Continuum. (Original work published 1993)

French, J., #038; Raven, B. H. (1959). The bases of social power. In D. Cartwright (Ed.). Studies in social power (pp. 150–167). Ann Arbor: Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan.

Garner, H. (2002). Helping others through teamwork: A handbook for professionals (2nd ed.). Washington, DC: CWLA Press.

Johnson, L. C., #038; Yanca, S. J. (2010). Social work practice: A generalist approach (10th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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Kelly, J. J., #038; Clark, E. J. (2009). Social work speaks: National Association of Social Workers policy statements 2009–2012 (8th ed.). Washington, DC: NASW Press.

Kosciulek, J. F. (1999). The consumer-directed theory of empowerment. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 42(3), 196–214.

McCashen, W. (2005). The strengths approach: A strengths-based resource for sharing power and creating change. Victoria, Australia: St Luke’s Innovative Resources.

McIntosh, P. (1989). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. Peace and Freedom. Retrieved from http://www.library.wisc.edu/EDVRC/docs/public/pdfs/LIReadings/Invisible Knapsack.pdf

McKergow, M. (2005). Positive approaches to organisations and people: Solutions focus, appreciative inquiry and positive psychology compared. In M. McKergow #038; J. Clarke (Eds.), Positive approaches to change: Applications of solutions focus and appreciative inquiry at work. Cheltenham, UK: SolutionsBooks.

National Association of Social Workers. (2008). Code of ethics. Washington, DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.socialworkers.org/pubs/code/code.asp

Pransky, J. (1998). Modello: A story of hope for the inner-city and beyond: An inside out model of prevention and resiliency in action through Health Realization. Montpelier, VT: NEHRI Publications.

Pransky, J., #038; McMillen, D. P. (2009). Exploring the true nature of internal resilience: A  view from the inside out. In D. Saleebey (Ed.), The strengths perspective in social work practice (5th ed., pp. 240–261). Boston, MA: Allyn #038; Bacon.

Rappaport, J. (1990). Research methods and the empowerment social agenda. In P. Tolan, C. Keys, F. Chertok, #038; L. Jason (Eds.). Researching community psychology: Integrating theories of methodologies (pp. 51–63). Washington, DC:  American Psychological Association.

Robbins, S. P., Chatterjee, P., #038; Canda, E. R. (2006). Contemporary human behavior the-ory: A critical perspective for social work (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Allyn #038; Bacon.

Saleebey, D. (1992). The strengths perspective in social work practice. New York, NY: Longman.

Saleebey, D. (2009). The strengths perspective in social work practice (5th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education.

Social Work Department, California State University Stanislaus. (2009). Reaffirmation Document, A.S. 2.0 Program Curriculum. Turlock, CA: Author.

Speer, P. W., #038; Hughey, J. (1995). Community organizing: An ecological route to em powerment and power. American Journal of Community Psychology, 23(5), 729–748.

Rank, M. G., #038; Hutchison, W. S. (2000). An analysis of leadership within the social work profession. Journal of Social Work Education, 36(3), 487–502.

Tatum, B. D. (1997). “Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria?” and other conversations about race. New York, NY: Perseus Books.

Terez, T. (2010). Power over vs. power with: A working white paper. Retrieved from http://www.betterworkplacenow.com/PowerWith-TomTerez.pdf (Original work pub-lished 2007)

Tzu, L. (1995). Tao Te Ching (S. Mitchell, Trans.). Retrieved from http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/core9/phalsall/texts/taote-v3.html. See other translations at http://www.thetao.info/ and http://www.thebigview .com/tao-te-ching/ (Original work published 6th century BCE)

Breshears, Elizabeth, M.Ed, MSW, PhD, and Roger Dean, M.Div. Volker. Facilitative Leadership in Social Work Practice, Springer Publishing Company, 2012. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/atlunivctr/detail.action?docID=1085260.Created from atlunivctr on 2022-03-03 02:27:17.

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