Personals traits of a social worker

I have a different sort of question for you about personality traits that social workers should have.  I have a strong desire to help people, I am a good listener, and I am compassionate and empathetic.  However, I am also fairly shy, and I am afraid that outgoing and energetic people might do best in social work.  I need a brutally honest answer: do you think that slightly shy or more reserved individuals can be effective social workers?  Thank you for your help.


I really like your question.  It’s insightful, caring and honest.  THESE are the traits that make good social workers.

Believe me, most of us have been (notice past tense!) “shy”.  If those who know me now could see me ‘then’, they wouldn’t believe I’m the same person. I truthfully believe that we go into this field to be stronger ourselves. I think social work makes you stronger – more outgoing – because you have to advocate for people.  Sometimes, having that person to advocate for -who really needs you/your help- provides you with the strength to overcome the shyness you say you have.

IMO, it’s not “outgoing” people that make the best social workers. Outgoing people tend to talk over others and ‘it’s’ all about them. It’s people that know how to listen without talking, who can focus on that individual, who can empathize with what someone else is going through without judgement, and can really “put yourself in their shoes”.  If you can do those things, than by all means, proceed on as you will be one of the best out there.

Good luck to you (and yes, I was “brutally honest”!)


Posted on February 22, 2012, in Categorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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