NUMBER 327• 5 AUGUST 2003 • THE ART OF LEADERSHIP
INDEX OF QUOTES
Ernie Hilton (personal communication, CYC-net, July 25, 2002) identifies six characteristics of leadership … He provides what I think is a particularly succinct summary of the art of child and youth care leadership. I would like to translate this art to practical action possibilities that each and every one of us, from the first year practitioners to the educational ‘sages’, can use each and every day.
Ernie’s statements are similar to the goal statements that we might create for a child to promote developmental change. Similarly we need to translate the goals of self-awareness and strong moral values into concrete, objective, actions that each of us can use in appropriate situations, to enhance our status, influence and power.
Translation: Challenge the next practitioner that seems to be taking a victim stance about his/her professional status, accusing other professionals of lack of respect. Ask what he/she has done to explain our practice and demonstrate our worth. Perhaps, by virtue of your conversation in 5 years he or she will be president of your provincial association, or better yet, a member of the provincial parliament introducing changes to a bill that gives us professional status through legislation.
See no victims — do not underestimate another’s ability to achieve.
Translation: Feeling downtrodden and unappreciated? Roll out from underneath the foot of the oppressor(s), stand up and tell them what you think. Ask to be included in the next multi-disciplinary teammeeting and give them a report on your client. Join (or form) your provincial professional association and use your skills at relationship building to get out and liaison with employer associations and professional associations representing other disciplines. Ask for a liaison membership to their group. Let them know what we do. Ask to meet with government civil servants that make recommendations for child and youth care post secondary education programs and legislative change. Meet with agency accreditation programs and state an expectation that certified staff be included as part of the requirement for accreditation. TALK about what you do.
All life is a mirror — to change the world I need to change myself, take responsibility for how I feel.
Translation: Remember, everything you do toward professionalizing this field will improve the quality of care that children and youth get. Make sure that’s part of your logic for creating change.
Have a purpose greater than me.
Translation: Child and youth care is here as a field because some insightful psychologists, psychiatrists, and social workers recognized that front-line, day-to-day contact in the child’s environment was where the change was really going to happen. Make sure you remember that, credit them, or at the very least, don’t malign their profession.
Have gratitude and balance in my life ... Everywhere, or else it will show up everywhere that I don’t. I must remember to always say thank you.
Translation: Know the history of the field of child and youth care (See http://www.oacyc.org/page2.html for a start). When you start resenting the lack of status or when a newcomer to the field sounds resentful, take a few moments to review our history and remember that the impetus toward professional status and even the term ‘child and youth care’ has only been present in our language for 30-50 years. The first journal was published in 1971, the first college programs in Canada appeared in 1968, the first university program in 1973.
No resentment/no blame — these suck the life passion right out of me.
Translation: Use your passion for child and youth care to speak out at every opportunity about what you do, why, and most importantly why we should be formally recognized alongside other professionals. Tell your friends, your family the professionals you work with and the kids and parents you work with. Get them on side through the passion you have for the work that you do.
Love it before I act.
We have to understand that power is required for status and recognition. We must create and use our power; no one else is going to do it for us. Just as we act as powerful change agents with children and youth, so too can we act as powerful change agents for the professionalization of our field … in the meantime: How are you going to express your leadership in child and youth care? How can you use your art to further the quality of care children and youth can expect from all child and youth practitioners?
Stuart, C. (2003) Musings in the art and science of professionalizing child and youth care. Relational Child and Youth Care Practice, Vol.16 No.1 pp.15-23