Understanding Human Service Leadership in Context

Understanding Human Service Leadership in Context

Response Guidelines

At least 100 words each response. In your responses, indicate similarities or differences in your reflections about changing trends and practices in human service delivery programs. Cite text concepts, relevant research, and professional or practical experiences to support your responses.


Economic change is a shift in the structure of an economic system. This results in changes to societies, cultures and everyday life on a global or national basis (“15 Examples of Economic Change”). There were several economic and political effect in human services trends that were identified in the chapters and they were the following: greater competition for resources, greater numbers of skills being required, the need for research and evidence-based programs, the emergence of a leadership crisis, and  greater levels of diversity in the workplace, (Watson & Hoefer, 2014).

Since there is a greater competition for resources it effects human services because nonprofit administrators operate in an environment of scarce resources and increased competition for those resources. Funding from government at local, state, and federal levels is strained due to political pressure to lower tax rates. Contracted payments to nonprofit organizations are often delayed for months, causing nonprofits to face financial problems (Watson & Hoefer, 2014). In human services the amount of skills being required are greater now for human service agencies because the range of skills needed to cope within a difficult environment is greater now than before.  Administrators need to be knowledgeable in budgeting, supervision, and human resources, advocacy, community collaboration, and fundraising (Watson & Hoefer, 2014). The need for evidence based practices is important because in order to receive funding and resources the organizations must become more effective in how they service the needs of  clients and how it can measured which is why the use of technology is important and has been incorporated in organizations (Watson & Hoefer, 2014). Other economic changes in human service is the leadership crisis which explains the decrees of experienced leaders wanting to work in a nonprofit organization setting. Research has discovered that the workers in human services do not want to move to upper management positions (Watson & Hoefer, 2014). Other economic changes in human services depend on leaders being diverse and relatable to all races, genders and ages in the workplace (Watson & Hoefer, 2014).

In order to improve the outcome for client; human services organizations now must have a more evidence-based approach which is important because it helps evaluate the services that is being provided by the organization.


Currently political and economic climate have an impact on human service delivery and programs like with resources for the people that are the vast majority of mental health clients. In human services there will be a forever changing dynamics when it comes to giving services to the public. The programs that are implemented through human services takes a lot of initiative, on those who are leading the program and is actively involved. Salipante and Aram (2003) argue that nonprofit managers must move beyond being users of knowledge to becoming generators of knowledge. Education for nonprofit administration should stress the ability to collect, manage, and analyze data to make management decisions (Watson, 2014, p. 5). One way to accomplish this is to use service technologies that have research to support their claims of helping solve client problems (Watson, 2014, p. 5).  Increasingly, these families have had increased financial responsibilities toward young adult children and parents with medical and other issues (Watson, 2014, p. 4).

The introduction of the performance measurement systems and outcome measurement  analytics impact human service delivery and with most social services organizations operate from mandates that maintain a focus on safety, risk assessment, risk management, and reduction of harm, albeit in the context of promoting overall well-being and health. Unfortunately, what is inherent in most problem-oriented paradigms and service delivery approaches is that the area o (Groot, 2016, p. 127). Human services renders nothing but tactical help in the ones well-being, whether it be staff or clients. many programs and service delivery models are highly influenced by the fiscal need and encouragement of and/or a politically mandated use of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) as a requirement for intake, assessment, and intervention (Groot, 2016, p. 128).

Dynamics of Human Service Program Management

Response Guidelines

Read the posts of the other learners and respond to two. At least 100 words each response. Respond to the learners’ reflections about fostering motivation. Use text concepts, relevant research, and professional or practical experiences to support your responses.


The actions that leaders can take to help service delivery personnel retain motivation and job satisfaction would be to be actively involved from start to finish, on the daily duties that are required of staff members. Staying engaged in all events that transpire on the job as the leader every staff member looks for the leader to be attentive in, the changes that will take place. Social service training endeavors to prepare supervisors and managers with the knowledge and skills to educate, coach, support, develop, and delegate tasks to their team members in a way that enhances the consistency and quality of supportive service being provided to clients (Groot, 2016, p. 128). Most approaches to employee development operate from an overall behaviorist approach, meaning that supervisors are encouraged to learn a variety of human-behavior and system theories and models in order to interpret the attitudes and behaviors of employees so that they can develop more capable, confident, and competent employees (Groot, 2016, p. 129). At a time when workers are struggling to perform in a preferred and expected manner, when they are probably feeling less than confident and capable, a strengths perspective would be helpful to provide a more positive experience of themselves and/or their work (Groot, 2016, p. 130).


deGroot, S. (2016). Responsive leadership in social services: A practical approach for optimizing engagement and performance. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.


Most social service workers need and want to feel good about themselves and their work. It is imperative to acknowledge the realities of the challenging environments that workers operate within. It is the toughest industry to work within, and it is no surprise that out of all occupational fields, burnout, which can result in emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, and a reduced sense of accomplishment at, is more likely to occur in the social services profession.

One way that a human service program leader can manage the competing demands of bureaucratic standards and help retain motivation and job satisfaction is by preventing the agency from becoming overly hierarchical and highly bureaucratized, concerned with and governed by rigid rules, protocols, policy, and procedures. According to DeGroot (2016), workers report feeling that organizational structures and rules are created in a top-down manner by legislators, boards, administrators, or managers that are out of touch with the realities of frontline service workers. Many organizations are over bureaucratized, laden with mandates, legislative requirements, and standards of practice, and can seem like paperwork takes precedence over people (p. 8).

Reducing the amounts of caseloads and increasing human services professionals’ wages help retain job motivation and job satisfaction. Social workers are paid so very little and sometimes hold onto more cases than possible. Because of this, services are not as efficient as they should be, and it is difficult to keep track of everything that every case needs. This ultimately causes stress and burn out. Bureaucratic protocol, policy, and paperwork combined with high workloads and complex cases with few supportive resources can take a great deal of worker time and energy.

It is also important for agencies to create a positive climate at work in order to maintain staff members. A positive work environment does not pose a threat to the worker’s safety or what is important and meaningful to the worker. It is also a workplace that is perceived by the worker to support a positive return on their investment of personal and professional work effort.


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Understanding Human Service Leadership in Context

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