How Human Services Executives Lead through Change

What Does Leadership Look Like?

Leadership is what motivates people to achieve a goal. At a human services organization, leadership works to motivate its workforce to achieve the overarching goals of the organization and ensuring the operations are in place to achieve those goals. With an eye to the future, organizational leaders are the ones who take the actions that are necessary to ensure the future of the organization and the people who make it up.

Essential Qualities of a Great Leader

There are certain qualities that are commonly seen in great leaders. These qualities are important in good times and absolutely critical in stressful times.

  • Clarity - Being able to keep the mission and vision of the organization in mind at all times
  • Decisiveness - Being able to make decisions and take action when it’s needed, even if those decisions are difficult 
  • Courage - Keeping an eye to the future even in the face of great uncertainty, and bringing everyone along with you
  • Passion - Possessing the driving force to continue forward, always remembering why you started
  • Humility - Giving credit where credit is due and recognizing that no organization would succeed without the people who provide the foundation

Leadership in the Time of Covid

The essential qualities of a great leader are easy to recognize and acknowledge when things are good. But the true test of a leader comes in the face of uncertainty and change, which we all experienced in 2020 as COVID-19 swept the world. Leadership looks and feels a little different under stress, and it becomes even more critical for the organization and its people. We know in times like these, inaction is insufficient and the old way of doing things is a surefire pathway to failure.

For a strong leader at a human services organization, though, these challenges can present a great opportunity to grow and transform. If only by necessity, making the decisions that will enable the organization to navigate through such challenging times is exactly the mark of great leadership. And while there may be a great deal of uncertainty about the future, we can look to other human services leaders for ideas, insights, and inspiration. In this guide, we explore examples of great leadership from two different human services organizations that we can learn from and use to help guide our own way forward.

Learn More

Learn more about leadership for behavioral health and human services organizations in this ebook that includes two real-life case studies of human services executives leading through unprecedented times.

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