Enhancing and managing performance through supervision

Authored by: Lareen Cooper , Michael Dale

The Routledge International Handbook of Social Work Supervision

Print publication date:  June  2021
Online publication date:  June  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367250867
eBook ISBN: 9780429285943
Adobe ISBN:


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Ensuring organizations have highly performing teams is a key role for all social work supervisors. Excellent performance commences with careful recruitment, initial training, and ongoing professional development; and building and retaining staff is the key role for any social work supervisor. This chapter argues that achieving this rests on a combination of both professional supervision skills, and administrative management skills. Social work supervisors must understand the systems and processes for managing performance where expectations of roles and performance are clearly articulated. This provides a foundation on which to build their organization and staff. This chapter argues that professional supervision must occur within the context of ethical practice in organizations with clearly articulated policies and procedures for performance management. The following sections provide the parameters for such practice: professional practice and organizational context; performance improvement; performance management; and leading and managing professionals. Case scenarios provide an opportunity to explore how to: support the development of a new practitioner; challenge and extend the performance of a senior practitioner; and manage poor performance.

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