Evaluation of a Strength-based Leadership Programme
Leads: Professor Robin Miller, Ms Sharanya Nama Mahesh (Social Care)
Dates: February 2021 - January 2022
An important recent development within social care has been a greater emphasis on building on the strengths of individuals and families, and the assets within their communities. This reflects a recognition that whilst professional expertise and support can play an important role, wellbeing of children and adults is built on personal skills, capabilities and interests, informal networks and personal resilience. Demonstrating ‘strength-based practice’ with individuals and families requires professionals to move away from traditional models which emphasised what people could not do and how such deficits could be met by professionals, and instead to work in partnership with children, adults and families to understand their aspirations and what would support them to achieve these.
A key enabler of strength-based practice is the leadership that social workers experience in their work. The University of Birmingham and the Social Care Institute for Excellence have developed a leadership programme to support practice leaders within social work and social care to demonstrate the necessary leadership through engaging with academic insights, critically reflecting on their own leadership, and developing a community of practice with their peers.
Policy and Practice Partners:
Social Care Institute for Excellence.
Aims and Objectives:
This project will evaluate the programme in relation to the following aspects – the experience of participants of engaging with the learning materials and activities, the learning of participants in relation to theories and research of leadership, the leadership behaviours that participants are able to demonstrate, and the impact of improvement projects that they complete during the programme.
The evaluation will be mixed methods and draw on the following data – self-assessments by participants at the beginning and the end of the programme of their leadership behaviours, qualitative interviews with participants and their organisational sponsors, reflective exercises which participants complete throughout the programme, and a focus group with the programme facilitators.
Implications for Implementation:
Local authorities will be able to justify widespread adoption of a strengths-based philosophy if the results are broadly positive.