Lee Anna Belton

Clinical Social Work Leader, LICSW, LCSW-C, LCSW

Finding Your Way Through the Fire: How Burnout Affects Social Work Supervisors' Role and Retention


In the dynamic landscape of social work, leaders play a pivotal role in ensuring positive outcomes for clients and practitioners. However, the increasing demands and responsibilities placed on social work leaders can lead to burnout, ultimately affecting their efficacy and retention. Despite its prevalence, supervisor burnout remains a largely overlooked issue in the field. This presentation brings together the results of a systematic literature review that looked at how supervisor burnout affects role efficacy and retention. It showed that there is a big research gap because only three qualifying studies were found. The findings emphasize the critical necessity of addressing leaders’ well-being for organizational success, drawing from the innovative conceptualization developed from established theoretical perspectives to propose a strength-based, relational-cultural, with a trauma-informed lens. This framework, which was the impetus for introducing a comprehensive toolkit, offers tailored strategies spanning individual and organizational levels to mitigate burnout among social work supervisors, aiming to enhance role efficacy and overall job satisfaction while empowering supervisors to prioritize their well-being and improve outcomes for supervisors and social workers alike. This presentation underscores the importance of addressing supervisor burnout in social work. Through collaborative efforts and a commitment to supporting the supervisor’s well-being, we can create a more resilient and effective social work workforce.


With more than two decades of expertise in the field, Lee Anna Belton holds licenses as a clinical social worker in three states: Maryland, DC, and VA. Ms. Belton has extensive experience in various fields, including senior care, mental health, program development, adoption, and government child welfare. Lee Anna received her bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University and her master’s degree from the University of South Carolina, both in social work. Lee Anna is a doctoral candidate in social work at the University of Kentucky’s College of Social Work. Ms. Belton’s concentration is in administrative leadership, with a Capstone dissertation focusing on the effects of burnout on social work leaders’ retention. Ms. Belton serves as the 2nd Vice President of the UK Association of Black Social Workers Chapter and is the student representative on the COSW Strategic Planning Committee. Her dynamic speaking skills have allowed her the opportunity to present on topics such as leaders managing conflict, empowerment, and self-care.

As a program analyst at the Navy headquarters, Lee Anna oversees the portfolio for a transitional compensation program that provides support to victims of domestic violence and child abuse. Mental health and clinical supervision services are provided in Ms. Belton’s private practice. Lee Anna lives by the motto “place your mask on first before helping others” and believes that with healthy self-boundaries, anyone can achieve their goals.

When she’s not assisting others, Lee Anna enjoys taking naps, spending time with loved ones, traveling, and exploring different restaurants.