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2010 Jordan Institute
for Families

Vol. 15, No. 3
June 2010

A Reflection on Leadership and Courage

Child welfare supervisors are managers. They take care of day-to-day affairs, seeing that the job gets done right. Yet supervisors are also leaders.

“Leadership” brings to mind words such as creativity, innovation, and vision. Leaders demonstrate an ability to see and do the right thing.

Leadership demands of us the courage to speak and act according to what “ought to be.” It asks us to see and model the changes we want to see in others.

No one can question that child welfare supervisors have their hearts in the right place. When you look into your heart, you will like what you see. Use its reflection to guide your purpose and the purpose of your organization, workers, and families.

True leadership takes guts. In the world of child welfare, with its built-in focus on risk and safety and the regular reminders that bad things can and do happen, fear is never very far away. Yet if we proceed from fear, it is very difficult to reach our goal – the trust and engagement of both families and our workforce.

Think of leading not in terms of the individuals involved, but as a process of defining a vision for what “ought to be” and helping people achieve that vision.