Transformative Leadership in Human Services Education

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Transformative Leadership in Human Services Education

Alvin A. Weaver, Jr. MS, HS-BCP

Abstract

Today’s human services students will face many challenges as they begin a career in human service practice in the future. The providers of the future will need to adapt and overcome obstacles such as reduced staffing, increased regulations, decreasing budgets, and increased numbers of clients to serve with more severe situations or disorders. It is imperative for leaders in the human services field to be action researchers who can measure, monitor, and adjust their practices in action in order to meet the demands of the job (Maulding & Styron, 2005). This can be achieved by integrating the concepts of transformative leadership, specifically action research, into the curriculum along with service learning (Pedra & Olson, 2000). This type of education will best prepare human services students for serving environments where the only thing constant is change.

Future Challenges for Human Service Providers
Today’s human services students will face many challenges as they begin a career in human service practice in the future. The providers of the future will need to adapt and overcome obstacles such as reduced staffing, increased regulations, decreasing budgets, and increased numbers of clients to serve with more severe situations or disorders. It is imperative for leaders in the human services field to be action researchers who can measure, monitor, and adjust their practices in action in order to meet the demands of the job (Maulding & Styron, 2005). This can be achieved by integrating the concepts of transformative leadership, specifically action research, into the curriculum along with service learning (Pedra & Olson, 2000). This type of education will best prepare human services students for serving environments where the only thing constant is change. An article titled “Trends” in HR Magazine by Desda Moss outlines, more specifically, some of the future challenges for human service professionals. Moss writes that the practice will become increasingly portable with the use of cloud technology. The future holds ever increasing policies for the management and use of social media tools. The economy will continue decrease the amount of new projects to be undertaken, cost cutting initiatives will continue to reduce the number of personnel as the number of responsibilities will increase. Ongoing training will be required in order to operate agencies, keep staff skills relevant, and meet the requirement to be increasingly transparent. This transparency will be required to meet the requirements of licensing agencies, referring agencies, and managed care organizations (Moss, 2010). The question then becomes “what is the most effective way to prepare human service professionals for these future challenges?” Through the use transformative leadership concepts and service learning these future professionals will be well prepared to meet the challenges they will face. Action research will provide them with a platform to consistently adapt to the constant changes they will face. Transformative Leadership Concepts for Human Services

Transformative leadership can be defined as “an ethically based leadership model that integrates a commitment to values and outcomes by optimizing the long-term interests of stakeholders and society and honoring the moral duties owned by organizations and their stakeholders” according to Caldwell, et al, 2011. Transformative leadership therefore is a pursuit of excellence as an individual leader, an organization, and ultimately society as a whole. The article Transformative Leadership: Achieving Unparalleled Excellence point out leaders who intentionally set out to benefit individuals within an organization as well as the actual organization are viewed as more ethical and will obtain greater success and...
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