Every Social Worker is different and we all work in very different ways. This always makes me think of Belbin and his team roles. Well I’ve made up my own version for Social Workers.
These are the types that I have come across;
- Quick route out of Social Work
- Unison supporter
- Work parent
- Future Service Manager
- Super Social Worker
- Non mover
My “Commander” to me this is the one that drives me crazy. This is the light bulb person, the ones who sets all the rules, polices and sets expectations that we just can’t meet. No matter how long we stay that evening. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought of saying to them “if it’s that easy, you come and do it” as they stroll out the building at 5pm whilst I’m still sat with at least 4 notebooks full to write up. Whilst they do have some good ideas, the plans just aren’t always realistic. These are the ones that we don’t really get to meet/ hear from them directly and we often questions whether they actually ever worked on the front line. Everything is passed down to the managers and we are the last to know what is actually going on.
Belbin’s Resource Investigator
My “Quick Route out of Social Work Colleague”. We all have someone in our team that have these alternative ideas. I for one was also one of them a few years ago. They want to try and explore a way out, what would be easier?
“I’ll set up my cleaning business”
“I’ll get my network marketing opportunity off the ground “
“I just want a simple life, I’ve heard Aldi pay well and offer a car scheme”.
However, they still stick around by your side and only a few really take this step. They easily change their mind and next week the next idea is up.
My “Unison supporter”. They want to try and advocate for the team and no matter how hard we all try to make change, little success is gained. They drag us to this meeting and they ask us to sign this form. Somehow they stay positive and motivate and they seen how the future should be.
My “Arranger”. What would I do without this colleague. This is the one who seems to keep on top of the hundreds of emails we get and the ones that I pretend to read but just put in the ‘form section’ in my inbox and never dare to go into as it’s such a mess now. The Arranger is the one that manages to keep on top of this and knows;
what millionth assessment template we are now using
what referral form we now have to use as they obviously don’t accept it the way they did last week.
No matter how many times they’ve sent it to me. They always carry on sending it back to me and try to motivate us to get this right. They can also be the opinionated one who sometimes say things without thinking. You really want to try not to have to of these in a team. But, you really do want them to attend the next team meeting to raise a few things.
Belbin’s Monitor Evaluator
My “Assessor”. This is the one that you would like just to pop out on the visit with you. Or, to just meet this person in reception that we are working with to see what they think. They seem to see things slightly differently and they pick up on things that I may not have noticed before. Although there decision making and assessment skills may be slow the outcomes are great and well thought through.
Belbin’s Team worker
My “Work Parent”. I always hope this one is me. I love a work family after all we spend soo much time with our colleagues sometimes more than our own families. This is the one that will continue to plan lunch breaks for the team even though when it comes to it we all have something urgent and have to cancel yet they keep arranging them anyway. There the ones who catch up with us and just make us feel better even if it is just a quick walk up the road just to get away from that computer for 5 minutes/ following the abusive phone conversation we have just received. We inspire to have their attitude and we hope we can make other days just that little bit brighter. They are the ones who also offer to do that late night visit with you that you are secretly dreading or they offer to cover the last hour or duty as your head is killing and you just want to go home.
My “Future Service Manager” even though they are only newly qualified!! Yes, they may be new in post but watch out they’ll do what it takes to get there. We all know these workers. They regularly meet with the managers and before we know it, that newly qualified is presenting new ideas and ways of working to us. They are the ones who set the example that we now need to follow; and look they’ve even drawn the example too. They’re dedicated, know where they want to go and before we know it they’re managing us.
Belbin’s Completer Finisher
My is this even possible AKA the SUPER HUMAN SOCIAL WORKER. I haven’t met many of these but they do exist. They are on top of every case recoding imaginable. They’ve even written the note before hanging up the phone! This is the one you sit next to, just to make sure they don’t have any magical tricks that we are missing out on. They also leave with a smile on their face at 5pm there recordings are written up daily. What am I doing wrong???
Here I’ve completely replaced Belbin’s Specialist
With my “Non-mover”. I couldn’t leave this one out but it has nothing to do with Belbin. . They stroll in the office at 08:30 and dead on 5 they vanish and cannot be contacted on the phone. I’ve often ended up doing things on their cases as duty kicked off last minute and they’re heading home or off to their evening club whilst I’m out until 9pm. I have been known to be jealous of this but when I reflect I see that it isn’t me. They don’t offer to support to the team, cover when we are struggling and are set in how things used to be rather than how things are now.
I think I’ve summed up my views of a Social Work team. Let me know what you think? or if I may have missed some.