Central Standard Time U.S.
Post an analysis of the similarities and differences of leadership and management roles as they relate to human services organizations. Include how your understanding of these roles may affect you as you assume a supervisory position.
Support your post with specific references to the resources. Be sure to provide full APA citations for your references.
Prequel to Chapter 2, “Meet the Staff Members” (pp. 35–37)
Chapter 8, “Leadership, Management, and Governance” (pp. 243–280)
Moments before reaching the freeway exit, Yolanda Stevenson turned off her favorite Motown station. She squared her shoulders and shook off the rhythms that had filled her head and energized her body since leaving home. By the time she pulled into the lot behind the All-Families Services Center, Yolanda was ready to assume the professional demeanor she was known for and which she expected of herself in the position of clinical services coordinator.
The switch in mind-set was not unfamiliar. In her first years at the agency, it was a price Yolanda had been willing to pay for success in social work, her chosen career, for the esteem and respect she received from her (mostly white) colleagues, and for the security that came with a well-paid, tenured position. As the first member of her family to earn a university degree, she felt some other obligations as well. But over the years, as she’d grown into her professional role, the sense of living in parallel universes had almost disappeared.
Would today’s seminar dredge up old anxieties? she wondered.
Samich Mansouri parked near Yolanda. They nodded to each other pleasantly. “See you soon,” Yolanda waved as they headed to their separate offices. “Yes,” Sam answered, “I’ve been looking forward to this.” Sam directed the agency’s New Americans Project. As a 19-year-old, Sam had left his native Lebanon because of civil strife. An uncle in the United States had offered to help him through college. But the suffering of others had left its mark. He’d decided early to seek a career opportunity that would enable him to be of service to people in need. To be of service had always been expected of Sam. His father and grandfather before him had both been physicians, tending to Beirut’s poor.
Shortly after beginning his undergraduate work, Sam switched from a premed to a social work major. An encounter with a counselor at the university, a social worker, was the deciding factor. He found her to be a dedicated, empathic, and helpful professional—a role model for his own career. He has never regretted the choice.
Ali (Alberta Schmid) was already sitting behind her desk in the receptionist’s booth when Yolanda and Sam walked in. Ali always arrived early in order to get the day’s work organized, enjoying the interaction with other staff as they came in. Feeling wanted, knowing she did her job well, and being appreciated meant a lot to Ali. “Ali knows her job. I don’t know where we would be without her,” Bill Clapman, the agency’s director, had told other staff members more than once. And the word got back to Ali.
She also enjoyed the give and take with clients, feeling a sense of deep satisfaction when she routed them properly to center staff. The job did not pay terribly well, but then Ali’s education had not gone beyond two years of junior college. Still, the position was secure, and a year earlier, when she unexpectedly needed surgery, the agency’s comprehensive health benefits covered all her expenses. Staff members visited her regularly while she recuperated, letting her know how much she was missed. She was gratified to have been invited to sit in on the Organizational Challenges seminar with the professional staff.
Millicent walked to work that morning as she often did when the weather permitted. Millicent Kapinski liked to call herself a “retread.” After a number of years of teaching in a Catholic parochial school, she concluded that life within her order was too restrictive and found herself in increasing conflict with church policy. Her breakout was gradual. It started with a temporary break to work with rural residents in Latin America. “Turns out it was more of a break away” (from her order), she’d once confided to Harvey.
As the center’s family life and community education specialist, she discovered a newfound opportunity to express her commitments to others. Her age—Millicent at 53 was one of the older staff members at the agency—and her warmth led others to seek her out as a confidant. “I’ve become,” Millicent admits with a smile, “everybody’s ‘Polish mother’ around here.” The trust she inspires and her interest in education account for Bill’s having asked her to chair the agency’s Human Resources Committee.
By the time the others arrived, Carl Farrell had already been at his desk for an hour or so. When Carl first joined the staff, he had felt like an outsider in an organization dominated by social workers and other human service professionals. Over the years, however, Bill made sure to team him up with program staff on issues pertaining to program planning and review. Although Carl tends to be reticent in his interpersonal style, he now plays a key role in financial planning for the agency.
Harvey Marcus could feel the juices flowing as he drove to a breakfast meeting with the Community Foundation director and several other agency reps. That’s the way he always felt when he was on a hunting trip, either for a grant or for information. Bill had asked Harv to go to the meeting in his stead. The get-together had been designed to inform agency grant recipients of the foundation’s projected cutbacks.
Harvey was the right person to represent the agency. As director of its Community Services division, he’d grown accustomed to operating on the agency’s boundary, so to speak, between the agency and the community. He was hopeful that the information he might garner from the meeting would yield some useful insights for sharing at the All-Families staff seminar later that morning.
Bill met Gracia Mendoza and Professor Dan Simmons in the agency’s parking lot and ushered them into the conference room. In her volunteer life, Gracia was a member of the All-Families board and chair of its Human Resources Committee. In her occupational role, she was head of the personnel department of a major nonprofit organization and a respected consultant on issues related to inter- and intra-organizational collaboration. Simmons was a sociologist whose research focused on nonprofit organizations.
A few years from retirement, Bill had been the exec of All-Families since it was crafted through a merger of two once-venerated agencies that had run out of steam in the 1980s. Bill’s management style included listening to others and then asking them to take on responsibilities for issues they were interested in. Good thing Gracia would be chairing the seminar session, he realized. Might be a good time for me to just sit back and listen. For Bill, listening was never passive. Bill was always an active listener, attentive to the cues that might lead to a pointed question or suggestion here and there. His attentiveness was, in its silent way, an encouragement to others to contribute to the discussion.
You’ve undoubtedly met Yolanda, Sam, Ali, Millicent, Carl, Harvey, and Bill—or others like them. You’ll get to know them a bit better as you read on. We’ll explore why they and others choose to work at the jobs they do, how they selected careers in the human services, and what benefits they derive (or hope to derive) from their work. We’ll examine the conditions that contribute to their job satisfaction and productivity and to the achievement of agency missions.
The vignettes referring to the All-Families and ViVa social agencies are composites of people addressing everyday organizational challenges. Other vignettes use real names for people, organizations, events, and locations. You may be most interested in Yolanda’s eventual involvement with ViVa.
Concepts, Theories, and Classifications