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opportunities for creative contribution to a cause in which they have faith. Too often the employees, from the executive to the office boy, have no means of knowing whether their work is acceptable to their organization, except by the impersonal process of inference from the fact that they have not been fired. No staff will contribute its best under such circumstances. The responsibility for the development of morale is general throughout the profession; but, we may add, it rests most heavily upon executives and supervisors. We may take this responsibility as a fourth phase of social work in which personality is an outstanding factor.
Personality in the record of social work.-What has been the success of social work with respect to the personality aspects of its task? If these aspects are as important as I have suggested, social work could hardly have written so impressive a record of success without substantial achievement on the side of personality. Like all movements born of a recognition of human need and carried out in an attempt to minister to it, social work has had its prophets. Its history written in books, in the Proceedings of this Conference, in more prosy annual reports, and revealed in vivid, if unrecorded, experience with the older leaders of our profession whose memory is treasured by many of us still living is largely a history of the achievements of personalities, some of them outstanding, some of them relatively unknown. The outstanding character of some personalities is in itself evidence of the part which personality plays in active affairs. Within recent years in social work we may seem to have had fewer such than formerly. This has been interpreted in some places as evidence that personality is playing a part of decreasing importance in social work. To some observers, also, the same tendency is indicated in our rapid development of technical methods and in the wider ramifications of organization in our field. Technique and organization have been necessary developments. Social work could not have met the challenge of a complicated modern social life without them, and if it is to make its greatest contribution to human welfare, these technical developments must be carried much farther.
This does not necessarily suggest the mechanizing of social work. Increase in our power of accomplishment increases our responsibility for high standards. I do not believe that we shall ever accept a substitute for the power of personality in our professional equipment. On the contrary, the remarkable development of organization and technical methods has given us new respect for human personality and has reinforced our traditional belief that it is indispensable to any social work worthy of the name.
Nevertheless, I doubt if we have been sufficiently aware of the extent to which our most highly perfected professional effort has been wasted effort because it has not sufficiently reckoned with the personal equation. There is, in my judgment, no more tragic form of waste than the waste of professional skill which occurs when the person in whose behalf it is exerted fails to make the maximum use of it. A physician brings to bear upon the need of his patient a
professional judgment which is the product of a long period of education and long experience in studying and treating human ills. Each patient he treats is receiving the benefit of this investment of himself in his professional development. Over and over again this investment is barren of return because the patient does not follow the suggestions of the physician. Social workers experience constantly a similar lack of return on their own professional investment. To each task which the social worker undertakes he brings to bear the product of his total training and experience. Over and over again the result is less than it deserves to be because client or community does not follow his lead.
In the old days-gone forever let us hope such failure could be covered by ascribing to the client an unwillingness to cooperate, or to the community a state of backwardness with which no human skill could successfully deal. Let us concede that no permanent improvement is possible in any individual or in any community unless individual or community does the lion's share of the work in his own behalf. It still remains true that failure to achieve the success which the professional skill of the social worker deserves frequently results from his own inability to reinforce a sound program of procedure with that art of human relationships which alone wins from human beings wholehearted response to stimulus from the outside. The waste for which such failure is responsible is the more tragic when contrasted with the brilliant total record of social work. To this form of waste in the use of professional skill we may add another, which results from the same failure to develop the art of human relationships. This is the waste which occurs when, in the face of imperative need for concerted action, social workers find it difficult or impossible to agree among themselves. Differences of opinion, differences in general point of view, are not only inevitable, but desirable, particularly in those fields whose scientific development is only just beginning. In order to reduce this waste which is the product of disagreement, it is not necessary that disagreements be eliminated, but only that they be discussed and reckoned with on a high level without bitterness, without personal feeling, without that intensification of prejudice which in intellectual matters is too likely to be the product of a self-defensive attitude.
No profession makes heavier demands upon the personality of its practitioners than social work. No profession should be no profession is able to reveal to the world a greater measure of success in the personal aspects of human relationships. Nevertheless, I suggest that in all soberness we recognize rifts among groups in this Conference in so far as they have developed distrust, personal antagonisms, and a lack of professional cohesion for what they really are: evidences of our failure in the art of human relationships, in the practice of which we should be preeminent among the professions.
The development of personality for social work.-To what extent is it possible for social workers to train themselves deliberately for the personality requirements of their professional tasks? Continuing succcess in social work implies more than growing technical proficiency. It implies growth also in the scope
and usefulness of those personal traits which the tasks of social work peculiarly need. So far as I know, however, such development is usually a by-product of experience. Few educational projects are ever formulated for the direct purpose of developing the personalities of students, except on the purely intellectual side. Furthermore, doubt is often expressed whether the deliberate development of personality through any organized method of education is possible. We hear it suggested that, like poets, good personalities are born and not made. It is suggested further that the growth of self-consciousness in human relations which may seem inevitable in any direct effort to educate personality implies a contradiction in terms. It would tend to make artificial a form of expression whose usefulness depends upon its spontaneity and lack of self-consciousness.
We may agree that these difficulties are formidable, but we can hardly be content with a negative answer to this general question. What are the facts? We have seen that social work deals with situations which at heart involve problems of personality. We have seen that success in dealing with these situations calls for an unusual personal equipment. We have seen, further, that a considerable part of our failure to realize all of the potential results of our programs is due in large measure to failure in the personal aspects of our professional work. Furthermore, we are recruiting annually younger men and women whom we send into positions in the field of social work where we expect them to grapple with situations involving these very elements. Through schools, through apprentice-training, through association with older and wiser leaders in the field we are equipping them with a scientific understanding of our professional problems and with a mastery of proved technical methods. But with regard to this leading factor in successful work we are doing for them almost nothing. We can hardly set up a complete curriculum for the development of personality. As a first step, however, we can recognize that we have defined here a problem of professional efficiency which is as fundamental as any other, and set ourselves the task of trying to solve it.
What is this professional problem? In practical terms it can be stated as the problem of adapting human personalities to the specific requirements of the professional tasks of social work. This is no new type of educational project. What is the training of the diagnostician? It is largely the adaptation of his power of thought to a specific task. What is at its best the training of the teacher? It is in part the adaptation of his powers, intellectual and otherwise, to a specific task. So might we speak of the training of the diplomat. I do not pretend to understand the ways of diplomats, but I am under the impression that, having dedicated one's self to the diplomatic service, one becomes more proficient in that service by learning something of national traditions, something of international relations, something of international law, something of the specific subject matter of those questions, political, economic, and social, concerning which nations negotiate with each other. But beyond this, the man who grows in value to the diplomatic service has learned how to conduct himself as a
personality in those peculiar ways that are essential to successful diplomatic intercourse.
If we mention in one breath the diplomat, the salesman, and the waiter, we have mentioned three types of vocations each of which calls for an adaptation of personality to specific vocational ends. These ends are not the same, and their significant variations suggest certain corresponding variations in the types of personality required to meet them. When we say variations in types of personality we do not suggest complete differences. Human beings are biologically more nearly alike than different, whether they are diplomats, salesmen, or waiters. Their personality make-ups are more alike than different. To be sure, their differences have already played a large part in determining whether they would become diplomats, salesmen, or waiters. I am not suggesting that a given individual could be equally successful in all of these occupations. I am sure there must be good diplomats who would not make good waiters. It seems true, however, that whatever the original personality equipment of a man who enters one of these occupations, he will, if successful, be found to have modified his personality—or, strictly speaking, his habitual expression of it—in distinctive ways that have contributed to his success in the vocation chosen. Had he chosen another vocation making demands upon his personality and achieved success in it, his personality development would have been no less marked, but in certain important ways it would have been different.
If there is at least a thread of reasonableness in this argument, it is significant for social workers. I suggest, as a first step toward the solution of our problem, recognition that the tasks of social work call for something more than a native equipment which includes a good personality. They call for the adaptation of such a personality to the specific ends of social work. We must determine, therefore, what are the peculiar and distinctive demands which social work makes upon the personalities of its practitioners.
Adjustment. As the first qualification to meet these demands we may suggest what our psychiatric friends call a well-adjusted personality. I leave it to them to carry on their service of educating us laymen to an appreciation of what this involves. They have put us forever in their debt by revealing the origin, nature, and scope of prejudices, fears, inhibitions, complexes-those marks of the fettered personality too often unconscious of its fetters or mistaking them for symbols of grace. Stubbornness, prudery, self-assumed omniscience, cruelty, cynicism, bigotry, autocracy, egotism-these are not new phenomena to human beings. Psychiatry has told us nothing new regarding their potentialities for evil, unhappiness, and conflict among men. None of them has ever been attractive; all of them have been condemned in the other man. The individual in whose own conduct they appear has called them by softer names and, at times, has exalted them to the plane of virtues.
Psychiatry can perform no miracles, and it does not claim to be a vehicle of revealed truth. It has made clear, however, the true nature of some of these
less attractive expressions of personality and has suggested some new ways of reckoning with them in one's own conduct, ways which mean great individual satisfaction and less strain in human relationships.
Leadership. The adjustment of one's personality is not a complete solution of the problem of adapting one's self to the tasks of social work. Human relationships are dynamic. Their quality is determined, not only by the state of the personalities concerned, but also by the characteristic ways in which these personalities express themselves in their actual relationships. It is in what we may call "the functioning of personality in human intercourse" that the greatest demands upon the social worker are made. One may be genial, magnetic, winning, well-poised, objective, sympathetic, persuasive, and courteous and yet not gifted in the art of leadership.
By the art of leadership we mean that quality in human relationships which permits the exercise of personal influence upon others without weakening their initiative. In ordinary life those persons exercise an influence upon us whom we have reason to trust. This trust is not easily given. It is a product usually of slowly maturing acquaintance. The confidant, the guide, philosopher, and friend is usually the man or woman who, through such acquaintance, has been revealed to us as a person in whose hands the more or less intimate affairs of our lives are safe. Until this basis of confidence is established, influence, leadership-in the best sense is not possible. The quality of leadership demanded in the relations of social worker to client or in the relations of social worker to strategic persons in the community whose support he seeks is not different from the quality of leadership which marks helpful personal relationships in private life. Leadership in social work is possible only on the same basis of confidence that makes it possible in non-professional relationships.
The task of leadership in social work, however, is more difficult, chiefly because between client and case worker, between strategic citizen and community organizer, usually no ready-made confidential relationship exists. There has been no slowly maturing acquaintance ripening into neighborliness or friendship upon which it may rest. The social worker must lay this foundation as he proceeds. He has not only a purpose to achieve with his client, but he must establish such a relationship to him as will enable him to achieve this purpose. The establishment of this relationship will tax all of the worker's personality resources. To play the rôle of dictator is not difficult, and the strategic position of the social worker is often such as to tempt him into it. It is less easy to display the leadership which abandons domination in favor of the stimulation of initiative and self-propulsion.
Here is a professional problem of the highest importance. Is it possible for social workers, through a conscious process of self-education, so to adapt their personalities as to give them a higher order of skill in the peculiar problems of leadership which are characteristic of social work? The answer obviously is "Yes." The answer is "Yes" because they have succeeded in doing so. We may