4 Skills Any Successful Community Support Worker Needs

Community support workers (CSWs) are people who work with society’s most vulnerable and susceptible groups in order to support them with their physical, mental, social, and daily life skills. As the front-line point of contact for these vulnerable groups, community support workers serve as the personal link to those struggling through one-on-one and group support.

With any role or occupation, a few essential skills are needed to be successful – and the role of community support worker is no exception. In this blog, we’ll explore 4 skills that any successful community support worker needs to thrive in the field.

1. Active Listening

As a community support worker, it’s important that you have more than just good listening skills – you also need to have good active listening skills.

Active listening refers to offering your full attention to what other people are saying, taking the time to understand the points being made by the other party, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Many of the responsibilities community support workers have include communicating and interacting with their clients to understand their needs and what they’re experiencing. Throughout support sessions, it’s important for community support workers to actively observe their client’s behaviour and body language so they can better interpret and understand the underlying message being shared.

2. Social Perception

In almost any client-facing role, which includes the role of community support worker, social skills are important to have. Social perceptiveness is one of those skills.

Social perceptiveness refers to being aware of other people’s reaction and understanding why they react as they do.

As a community support worker, it’s important to be conscious and cognizant of your client’s facial expressions, body language, and tone so you’re able to read the mood of the conversation. Being able to do this is beneficial in understanding when your client is happy, sad, or even uncomfortable. 

For example, if you know that a particular client struggled through a challenging past, reading their body language will help you better understand how they’re feeling and at what stage of recovery they’re at. If a client is showing signs of hesitation or distress during conversation, you can anticipate that the support process is going to be slower and then schedule more one-on-one time to help them over overcome it.

3. Communication

During support sessions and any form of conversation, 2-way communication is involved. Given this, community support workers need to be able to speak effectively with their clients. 

The skill of speaking refers to the action of conveying information or expressing one’s thoughts and feelings effectively. Note that the keyword here is effectively.

It’s easy to talk with others and share ideas just as the ideas come out of your mouth. The challenging part is sharing it in a way that’s clear and easy to understand for everyone. When you’re communicating and dealing with multiple clients at a time during group support sessions, it’s important that you can convey critical information in an understandable format to your clients.

4. Empathy

One of the key attributes required to be a community support worker is having the heart to help people.

Service orientation refers to actively looking for ways to help people. As a community support worker, it’s important to have the heart to actively help your clients through whatever they may be going through. This support helps them overcome their own struggles and become a better person.  

Community Support Worker Programs

At Sprott Shaw, we offer a variety of community support programs including Community Support Worker – Social Services, Community Support Worker, and Addictions Worker.  

Interested in learning more about one of these programs or the role in general? Contact one of our advisors for more information.

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Our advisors are happy to answer any questions.

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