Social work is a career that prides itself on one’s potential to cultivate positive relationships with individuals who may be different from us. For instance, there can be differences in race, personality, gender, health, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and age. To perform their duties effectively, social workers must be self-aware.
Self-awareness allows them to understand their emotions and feelings, leading to a more beneficial and productive relationship between themselves and their clients.
Therefore, if you are considering a career as a social worker, read on to discover why self-awareness is vital for this line of work and how you can develop this quality.
Benefits of having self-awareness as a social worker
Below are some of the most important benefits of being self-aware as a social worker.
- Deepens your understanding of your beliefs
Self-awareness enables social workers to question and address how they form their beliefs. For instance, it allows you to recognize your bias and make more objective assessments.
It means you can easily recognize circumstances that cause or trigger you to perform sub-optimally, and this will help you act optimally, remain calm, and influence change.
- Widens perspective
High self-awareness enables social workers to combine both external and internal states of awareness. These states allow you to be introspective when recognizing the value of other people’s perspectives. It also allows you to develop empathy, which gives you a better perspective when considering social workplace occurrences and personal issues.
- Encourages self-development
Increased self-awareness helps social workers accurately identify their behavioral management patterns and plan to address them. It makes self-development more attainable because your approach will be more direct and specific.
Self-awareness also helps you identify your core social work competencies, which can result in sustainable professional choices while improving them.
- Improves decision-making
Various social work skills constitute effective decision-making, which includes self-awareness. For instance, one such skill is analysis. Therefore, self-awareness enables you to apply this skill to your feelings and thoughts.
Moreover, self-awareness significantly boosts the quality of your decisions by allowing you to acknowledge your deficiencies and strengths.
- Elevates leadership skills
Self-awareness is vital in developing various skills, such as self-regulation, empathy, and critical thinking. Elevating these skills can help you become an effective social work leader. For example, it assists you in understanding your emotions and what stimulates them, helping you maintain internal equilibrium while interacting with others.
- Fosters effective communication
Self-awareness improves your ability to communicate with others. Active listening, for example, is a key component of effective communication, and increased self-awareness can help improve it to a great extent. In addition, it enables you to communicate effectively using accurate and concise expressions. Such expressions help social workers in better articulating their expectations, needs, and feelings.
- Increases productivity
Clearly stating your thoughts and ideas allows you to make insightful decisions without much effort. It impacts your workflow, which increases satisfaction and productivity in the social work environment for yourself and other employees.
- Increases collaboration
Self-awareness boosts team collaboration, which helps mitigate misunderstandings and disagreements during social work projects. For instance, by respecting and increasing self-awareness for your thoughts and feelings of people around you, you can work on your social work projects productively and with fewer mistakes.
- Increases positive response to feedback
Receiving feedback is vital to social work life as it encourages success and enhances your performance. Self-awareness boosts your positive response to the feedback you get and makes you strive better and prove yourself to your colleagues and superiors.
- Increases positive impact on the social work environment
Working with active self-awareness benefits both you and those working around you. It makes everyone feel confident and comfortable when expressing their ideas and thoughts. So, it positively impacts the social work environment as a whole.
How to develop self-awareness as a social worker?
One way to develop it is by enrolling in one of Cleveland State University’s online MSW programs. These programs are specifically designed for individuals seeking to become more self-aware and has a meaningful & rewarding career in the social work field.
Another way to become more self-aware is through practicing reflection. For example, you can practice it after experiencing negative and positive interactions. It entails asking yourself how you felt about a situation and what weaknesses or strengths in your behavior may have influenced that. Therefore, through reflection, social workers can better understand their personal qualities. It helps them recognize self-awareness qualities when they surface while interacting with clients.
Enlisting a coworker or friend who is open to working with you on your level of self-awareness can also be a great idea. They can provide constructive and thoughtful feedback that you can use in building your self-awareness. Working with a coach or mentor can also help.
Moreover, practicing mindfulness is also a vital step in becoming more self-aware. It entails paying attention to what is happening in your surroundings without imposing any personal bias or class. This allows social workers to see how they affect others and how others make them feel.
Self-awareness entails recognizing how our behaviors are shaped and how our weaknesses and strengths can affect people around us.
When social workers become more self-aware, they get better at developing constructive relationships with different people and situations around them. Besides, they get better equipped to set boundaries and stop their personal feelings and bias from influencing a given situation.
Therefore, possessing this quality is essential in delivering your duties effectively.