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We have heard a lot about efficacy of vaccines lately, but what about efficacy of athletes or leaders? What exactly does it mean?

Jackie Robinson was persistent, overcame racial taunts from fans, opponents, and some teammates, even though he had just as much a right to be on the baseball field. He was determined, and he focused on being a winner. In 1947, Jackie Robinson engineered the integration of professional sports in America by breaking the color barrier in baseball.

He had high self- efficacy. In individuals or athletes, it shows up as being more likely to put in the effort, and to persist toward their goals which increases likelihood of success.

At work, in leadership, it means an individual's belief in their own capacity to put forth the effort, persistence and continuous learning, which leads to better performance. Self-efficacy reflects confidence in one’s ability to exert control over one's own motivation, behavior, and social environment.

How to build this trait

It starts with self-awareness, an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses. Leaders need to learn how they are perceived by others. If self- perception and awareness were easy, all leaders would be more effective, but they are not.

Let us look at two types of leaders

  1. Many of the leaders I coach are very self-aware, they know their strengths, blind-spots, and they seek assistance and mentoring on those issues. They know when to raise the flag, get help, when they should seek mentors, and tap into leaders who have more developed skills.

  2. On the other hand, some leaders I coach may not yet be self- aware, or they are aware and feel deeply anxious about their weaknesses. Rather than plan work arounds, or development strategies, they avoid the issue, masking or overcompensating. Inside they may be deeply worried, and because they have a low perception of themselves, and in their ability to adapt, they will stay in this negative place. They may not know how to get out of a low spot, face an issue head on, or how to productively deal with the stress that it causes.

The good news is that both types of leaders can grow from coaching and learn self- efficacy.

Both are coachable, and the second group must face the truth and start to work on themselves. The first step is to honestly assess their abilities. Next, learning to master skills, turning the effort and persistence into good habits, and overcoming obstacles, will lead to enhanced performance and efficacy. This gives meaningful growth to their leadership journey.

The person with high self-efficacy enjoys benefits such as resilience to stress, healthier lifestyle habits, stronger performance, and achievement.


Contact me at if you want help with strategies to improve your leadership.

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