Professional leadership

Professional leadership

NQSWs develop personal and professional authority as a social worker including when working collaboratively across agency and professional boundaries. 

Social workers are members of an internationally recognised profession which is protected in Scottish and UK law.  Social workers should promote the profession and good practice, taking responsibility for the professional learning and development of self and others.  The NQSW will demonstrate an understanding of their professional responsibilities as a registered worker. 

Icon to represent professional leadership

Leadership in social work

NQSWs are a crucial part of the social services workforce in Scotland and lead professional practice in different organisations. Often social work students and NQSWs don’t think of themselves as leaders, yet the Standards in Social Work Education clearly map to leadership skills and capabilities.

We highly recommend the SSSC dedicated website Step Into Leadership and we’ve included the link to this below. Whatever your role as an NQSW, manager or supervisor, this website will help you find resources and information to develop your leadership skills.

Scotland’s social services need effective leadership at all levels of the workforce, as well as citizen leadership from people who access support and their carers.

Recommended resources

Step Into Leadership has specific resources which we also recommend on Coaching, Mentoring, Supervision, Facilitation and Action Learning. We highly recommend these for supervisors who are looking to develop their knowledge and skills for their role. These are great continuing professional learning resources specific to social services. You can find these on the Step Into Leadership website along with many other resources for supporting professional learning and development.

Information and links

  • Please remember that clicking on the links below will take you to information and resources that are external to the SSSC NQSW website.
  • The SSSC Step Into leadership website Step Into Leadership

Reflective questions

  • Have a look at the Step Into Leadership resources.
  • In what ways do you think you have a leadership role as an NQSW?
  • How can you influence ethical, rights-based responses to people using services?
  • How can you influence professional social work practice?
  • What skills and knowledge do you want to develop in this area? How will you do this?

We are currently developing the information and resources for this page. Please let us know if you have any recommended resources for other NQSWs in Scotland and we will share them here. You can contact us at