Seven Qualities every Youth Care Professional
should have (or develop).
If you want to find out what the key competencies are for a specific role or job, you should look at what it is that make people fail in that job. Once you have a clear view of the most important causes for failure, it will be obvious, in reverse, what is extremely important.
The following characteristics will put you at a huge risk for failure as a youth care professional:
- Not listening very carefully
- Avoiding confrontations
- Not taking charge when you need to
- Failing to follow through with agreed upon plans and methods too easily
- Being too helpful and as a result, taking over responsibilities too fast
- Thinking you can do it on your own
- Not being able to see how you contributed when things go wrong
In reverse, as a youth care professional you should have or develop the next seven qualities:
- Listen well
- Take position and stand your ground
- Take charge
- Stick to the plan
- Support, but don’t take over
- Work together
- Look in the mirror
Based on research and experience, the next three statements are also true:
- These seven qualities are more or less anchored in our character. In other words, you either have them or you don’t.
- As a youth care professional, you yourself are your most important tool for the job, sometimes even the only one.
- It is statistically impossible for one person to possess all seven qualities by nature.
This forces us to draw the conclusion:
Everybody is incompetent.
The question is, “How bad is it?” and: “What are we going to do about it?”
This is an inconvenient, but inevitable conclusion, and for this reason, I sincerely advise you to:
- Start investigating seriously which of these seven qualities you do have, and which ones you don’t possess by nature.
- Ask your colleagues to do the same, so that you can assess the level of complementarity in your team. Hopefully, you will find that one or more of your shortcomings can be compensated by a colleague (and vice versa), so that you will be able to focus your development (attention and energy) on other issues first.
- For a certain period (let’s say, a year), focus on only one of your less-than-ideal competencies. When you work on three of these issues at the same time, you’ll find out that nothing has changed in a year. But if you focus on one, you’ll see that other competencies will grow alongside the one you are consciously working on.
On a happier note, the reverse of the above inconvenient conclusion is also true:
Everybody is competent.
Here, the question is, “What are the areas where I am really good?”
So don’t sit there feeling sorry for yourself because of your shortcomings, spend time working on your talents as well.
Talent-development is about becoming much better at things you are naturally good at.
If you sharpen and grind your natural talents, you’ll become an expert. In contrast, a lot of people live their lives putting every little piece of energy in trying to do everything right without ever asking themselves whether they are doing the right thing. Make sure you are not one of them.
That having said,
Do you want to learn everything there is to know about the seven qualities for every youth care professional? Would you like to find out how your natural talents line up with these seven qualities? Do you want to seriously start developing your natural talents? Read my book, “Becoming a Youth Care Professional,” to get started.