In the wake of many recent tragedies including both those created by nature as well as those caused by man, we have seen the number the human service organizations grow beyond leaps and bounds. However how these agencies interact with their clients can play a valuable role when these clients come in to receive services. In trying to meet the needs of all those in the wake of such tragedies, it is often hard to understand how someone can also empower others within the agency that is offering services. In the light of helping everyone, many agencies are now implementing services now geared or centered on or around the needs of their client. However, this is one thing that leaves many human service managers faced with a pressing question: How can a human service program or agency come together and in doing so in a manner that can provide an adequate means for this kind of work? It is often because in today’s standards we see so many agencies working with “multimillion-dollar budgets, professional staffs, and expensive facilities that one may find it hard to believe that the underlying philosophy is one that any agency can live on.”
However, it is the agency that utilizes an empowerment-focused attitude and the theories that support them that has been an area of centralized research for many organizations for several years. It is the utilization of an empowerment approach within the agency that ensures that if the client can receive services or aid, it will given or done so in a manner that is both respectful as well without bias. At any agency, it should be understood that no matter what we want empowerment to be used not only to lift up the client but also to help to encourage the clients to do better each and every day. It is by using approaches aimed to promote positive energy and strength-based approaches along with client’s strengths can be the basis to build on, as this can help strengthen his or her weaknesses. According to Hardina et al. (2007), social service management is characterized by 12 fundamental principles in relation to the empowering approach. For the population or consumers addressed in our dream agency, it is these principles that are of the most importance for them to have a feeling that they belong and that their needs are just as important.
For these individuals have already in most cases given up as their cycle of poverty have been occurring generation after generation. For many years many organizations were often quick to use a problem-based approach to helping their clients, and for a long time this was accepted and part of the norm. However, in the past few decades the focus now revolves around that of strength and empowerment (Cowger, 1994). From a social service management point of view, it is this focus that has been to strong an issue to ignore. It is the client, who even with being overwhelmed with other life challenges, when given the opportunity, can play a major role in the organizational decision making process.
For they can bring a different view point to the forefront, as most are situations many deal with on a daily basis. It is a known fact that in the social work or the social services arena, decision making is an important task on every level. Understanding that critically, decision regarding the goals of the agency and its interaction within the community as well as how the agency is maintained can and usually made on an administrative level. However, when it relates to the overall continued existence as well as the agency’s effectiveness in addressing the needs and wellness of the client, these are just as important but may be made by other staff within the organization.
Providing an answer to or even better finding a means to help in solving their client’s problem is the sole responsibility of service workers and administration alike, but making sure those servicing the client know and understand this as well. It is known that because each client is different so will the challenges one will face in offering them services, so making sure that the staff is properly trained in the area of whatever expertise needed. Having the knowledge as well as the skills is a vision that I can see for the agency that I have in mind. Having an agency in which everyone is treated as an equal and work together in providing encouragement not on to the client but for each fellow co-worker within the agency. Understanding that in the midst of a tragic storm no one situation is more important than any one else’s, as everyone may have lost some near and dear to them. It is in offering support for those individuals whose situations may have occurred or was created by themselves or those in which they may have been a victim. Everyone would like nothing better than to stop the cycle of emotions that often result after a tragedy.
Giving clients access to learning about or locating needed resources to find and obtain the services they are in need of can help them begin to heal one principle stated the “empowerment-oriented organizations acknowledge the limitations of participatory management approaches and take proactive measures to balance inclusion.” For agencies whose consumers are drawn from populations that are marginalized and disempowered these principles are very important. It is also very imperative that to note that in order to meet the urgent needs of people who face multiple sources of oppression and multiple traumas, and again stress that in offering help it is done so in a manner that is in line with respect and dignity. It is my dream agency whose overall commitment is quality service aimed at meeting the needs of the client as well as one in which the staff is well trained in diversity as it relates to the different cultures served. No one will be discriminated against and based on the age, race, national origin, sexual orientation, mental status, or political beliefs.
In addressing client diversity, having staff and information available in other languages would be a plus. Also, having a manager that believes whole heartedly the mission statement of the organization. They display even in times of adversity a leadership quality that is in line with what the dream agency is promoting. It is the ability to influence others to follow in approaching the problem head on and in doing so the group can work together to share the knowledge needed to address the problems at hand. Even with one looked upon as a leader any decision made is only one that is looked at as one that they as leader has suggested. Clarifying the role that each will play in helping the client and having a common goal in putting team decisions in priority. It is also in trusting each other that each respects the other as diversity happens not only with the clients served but the tam we may work with, as it is diversity that helps the agency focus and understand the differences of those clients.
Find a balance in the team, we emphasize the use of regular in-service meetings as a means to evaluate the effectiveness of open communication. Understanding that together as a team and with a group effort, the decisions made can be one that when observed together, everyone can gain some satisfaction in knowing that they worked together to get the job done…helping the client! In offering the best client care we would need to find and utilize different strategies and implement these strategies inn getting positive feedback from all those involved in the care of the client. These strategies include but are not limited to the following: Adhere to the mission statement and the vision that the agency was created upon. Understand that leadership is agency wide, everyone should be committed to the organizational mission statement. Include everyone that is going to be effected by the decisions made between the agency and the client from the beginning process until they client gain back their independence.
Respect is agency wide, a supportive network can encourage overall job satisfaction with a better quality output from the employees to pass on to the client. Offer a systematic approach of giving and receiving feedback to monitor if there may be a need for intervention or strategy changes. Technology that offers both the patient and their family a means of gaining much needed information as well as the option to communicate with those involved in their case.
It is stated in the text that “organizational theory is used to explain, and sometimes guide, the way organization work” and whether consciously or not but only when they apply them consciously and based on their own theoretical beliefs will they be more effective. In seeking to put some organization to their program it is understood they still do have other choices. It is this knowledge that the purpose of any agency would be empowerment, but in order for the agency to reach their goal in helping others, the manager must realize their own empowerment. Then and only then can we empower the client to realize their potential so they can return and again become productive in their communities.
Cowger, C. D. (1994). Assessing client strengths: clinical assessment for client empowerment.
Social Work. 39(3): 262- 268.
Lewis, J. A., Lewis, M. D., & Packard, T. R. (2012). Management of human service programs (5th ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole.