Characteristics of the Social work profession

  • It deals with individuals and communities, who have problems, needs or wants and seeking for help or assistance.
  • Social work aims at being helpful and not to hurt
  • The help given by social work is usually given within the framework of social agencies
  • The helping process is carried out between the helping person and the client
  • The help arises partially from the helping agency and from the resources of the case worker

Skills and competencies required by a social worker

  1. Creativity and innovation

A social worker needs to be creative and innovative. He / she must be able to come up with new ideas as the situation may demand.

  1. Confidentialty

The social worker should be one who is able to preserve secret information about the client which is disclosed in the professional relationship.

  1. Initiative

The social worker ought to take the initiative in providing help to clients especially where the clients are reluctant to do the same.

  1. Non-judgemental

A social worker should not have judgemental attitude. This discourages the idea of condemning the character of the person. It arises from the conviction of social workers not to assign levels of approval, innocence or guilt.

  1. Acceptablity

Social worker should be one who is acceptable to the clients. This depends on the social worker’s other skills and competence.

  1. Resourcefulness

Social workers should ideally be able to provide all the necessary information that may be useful in satisfying the needs of the clients.

  1. Leadership

Social worker must possess and exhibit appropriate leadership skills and techniques.

  1. Communication skills

A good social worker must possess the requisite communication skills that may enable him pass and receive information to and from the clients appropriately.

  1. Non emotional involvement

While the social worker should be sensitive to the clients’ feelings, she / he should not be involved emotionally with the client. This involves objectively restraining or withholding ones feelings.

  1. Assessment / diagnosis

The ability to which to assess and diago /nise a case enables the social worker and understands the client. The skills help the social worker know what the problem is, how it came about and its possible solutions.


Challenges in Social work


The material and financial resources required for social work activities are generally scarce. Human resources are however required in most social work projects or activities.

Human resources may also sometimes be inadequate especially where training opportunities for social workers may not be available.

The poor who the social deals with, have more needs than resources available can support ad because of the scarcity, some communities resolve to conflicts. This is a challenge to the social worker who has to arbitrate and solve such conflicts.

Resource management has also sometimes been a challenge to social workers because not all stakeholders can manage the resources well.



  • Poor infrastructure like roads hinders social worker to reach some parts of the community which are in accessible.
  • Poor participation in decision making or communal activities by the community hinders the effects of social work
  • Hostility that social workers receive from communities leads to failure to carry out their work effectively. This may occur as a result of lack of the required skills and competence.
  • Communication problem such as language barriers tat result due to differences in modes of language that leads to distortion of information between the social worker and the community.
  • Poor leadership structure in the community leads to mismanagement of projects; hence collapse of such projects. This often demoralizes the effort put by the social work.
  • Lack of required skills and knowledge due to limited training on the part of the social worker. This limits their success in carrying out services to the community.

Environmental challenges

These prohibit the social worker from reaching all clients and may include the topographic nature of a place, climate etc.

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