Self-Efficacy – We’ve Got This

The Foundations of Resiliency: Part 2

Resiliency is more than just bouncing back; Resiliency is learning and bouncing higher. Resilient organizations come back stronger and smarter from challenges and setbacks.

In Part 1 we looked at the role of hopefulness in creating resilient organizations

Is your business resilient? If you or an employee crash, do you bounce back higher? If a competitor, or the economy, gives you a near-fatal mauling do you come out smarter and stronger than ever?

Brigid Gillespie’s research on resiliency among OR nurses identified Hope, Self-Efficacy, Coping, and Competence as critical factors in fostering resiliency.

You Can Do It

The phrase ‘self-efficacy’ is a mouthful, but there isn’t a word to replace it with… I tried.

Self-efficacy is the belief that we have the capacity to perform successfully, a specific action in a specific situation. We believe the problem before us is solvable and we are confident we are the right person to solve it.

The higher the level of self-efficacy, the greater the resilience.

The components of self-efficacy are agency, competence, effectiveness, and support.

Agency: Agency is the belief that we are the authors of our own stories. Employees who have a high degree of self-efficacy are self-aware, self-directed and don’t blame.

Competence: We feel competent when we believe we have the skills to get the job done. Important components in the competency toolbox are education and experience, but belief is primary.

Effectiveness: The belief that our actions will lead to predictable desired outcomes. This speaks both to our feelings of competence, and our belief that we are able to ‘read’ a situation correctly, to bring the right tools to bear on the job. We feel most effective when we do something in a way that is focused, economical, and elegant. We are at our most effective when we are in flow.

Organizational Support: Agency, Competence, and Effectiveness come largely from within us. Support is what happens around us to increase self-efficacy. Also called system responsiveness, organizational support describes the extent to which our environment enables us to do what we do best.

Here’s Your Part

What does your organization have to do to ensure high levels of self-efficacy in employees?

Hire the right people.

Self-efficacy is developed over a life-time. Look for a sense of self-reliance and responsibility. Interview for the ability to read situations . Look for life-experience. Don’t hire only for experience and education.

Increase organizational support.

This is how great managers create resilient organizations. Great managers know what strengths and competencies employees bring with them, and do everything they can to make those even stronger. They know that the most powerful tool in increasing self-efficacy is frequent, meaningful, reinforcing feedback. At the same time, don’t underestimate the importance of functional, elegant, consistent systems. These are the scaffolding that allows great work to take place.

Support life-long learning

Learning opportunities for your employees address all four components of self-efficacy. Knowledge feeds agency, competence, and effectiveness. Supporting learning increases system responsiveness.

Self-efficacy gives us the faith that no matter how challenging the task before us, we believe we can be successful. Even if we fail, high self-efficacy allows us to integrate the experience as learning, increasing resilience.

#organizationalresilience #resilience #organizationalperformance

About the Author

Clemens Rettich

I am an organizational consultant and educator with over 20 years of experience in supporting the improvement of organizations and organizational management across North America. I work at the intersection of people, systems, and change with a human-culture-first mindset that values joy, innovation, and collaboration. As a teaching professor at the University of Victoria's Peter B. Gustavson School of Business, I teach in the areas of leadership and organizational behaviour. In my work I explore the nature of the human organization in a post-colonial, post-technocratic society. I hold an MBA (Leadership and Organizations), and an undergraduate degree in music (Musicology, Performance). My areas of practice include management and leadership, organizational behaviour, process improvement, organizational change, and talent development and training.
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