Self-efficacy refers to an individual’s belief in their ability to influence events in their lives (Bandura, 2010). Simply stated, if you believe you can successfully perform an activity, you are more likely to succeed in that activity, and the opposite is true if you are sceptical. Is it enough to believe in success to be successful? The following post will explore whether self-efficacy is correlated to success (or successful performance), with an additional guide on strengthening your self-efficacy in everyday on-site or remote jobs.
Why is self-efficacy an important construct?
Self-efficacy was introduced in the literature a couple of decades ago, and with-it, developments in a variety of psychological theories. Self-efficacy serves as a powerful influence in all areas of human behaviour, including completing more tedious workplace tasks.
It has been shown that people with higher self-efficacy are more likely to place effort in achieving their goals (Kirk, 2012). Whether factors exist that serve to be motivating or guiding, one’s belief that they can accomplish said goals are a sufficient starting point in making a difference through their actions (Bandura, 2010). Self-efficacy is a strong theory, and upcoming research continues to improve it through its applicability across different contextual workplace settings (such as in leadership roles, e.g., Fitzgerald & Schutte, 2010).
Whilst self-efficacy and its surrounding theories are well captured within the literature, the idea of success and its implications are more broad. Success can be defined in many ways, but essentially, it refers to one achieving or accomplishing an aim or task. Success is applicable to minute, everyday tasks, to more challenging and long-term achievements.
With the above in mind, it becomes clearer as to how understanding self-efficacy in terms of performing a task and success, which is achieving it, can be related. It's worth noting that in truth, it's up to you to learn what success means to you. So long as you work towards something and put in the effort you were hoping to achieve, at the end of a task or goal, this is something worth celebrating.
As we all wish to strive in our diverse on-site or remote careers, it is at times not always easy. Sometimes we wake up unmotivated to work, and other times workplace goals present themselves with a myriad of difficult obstacles. What can we do to increase our self-efficacy, and apply this theory in our everyday working lives to feel successful?
Practice makes perfect
We’ve all heard the saying before, yet how does it transpire in practice? When completing tasks successfully, we become more confident to achieve similar tasks again. Practising tasks so that we become more assertive and skilful is one way to build your self-efficacy. Start slow and work your way up in building and maintaining confidence to carry your jobs successfully.
The above is especially true in today's influx of remote jobs, whereby employees are consistently urged to take on upskilling initiatives to keep up with workplace demands. Albeit a wonderful opportunity to gain new knowledge and insights across areas of skill, do not feel overwhelmed. This is the time to put in that practice and build confidence that can help you become more successful.
Learn from your colleagues
Bandura speaks of vicarious experiences that refer to learning skills and achieving tasks from others. For example, if you observe a colleague make a mistake at work, you will know what to avoid in making the same mistake, without having made it yourself. The same is true for learning what tasks were carried out from colleagues in successfully meeting goals. Speaking to and learning from others who are successful works as a motivator to achieve similar goals and aspirations.
Gain inspiration with role models
Self-efficacy theory addresses role models as individuals who inspire us to follow their principles and guidance. Role models are vital in building self-efficacy, as their teachings influence us to follow in their footsteps to achieve similar successful career paths. Identifying someone who inspires you in the workplace will go a long way in motivating your confidence to achieve certain tasks.
A positive sense of self
Our mental and physical wellbeing is an important consideration for self-efficacy such that, if you are going through a difficult circumstance in your life, you will be less motivated and optimistic in yourself. Positive experiences on the other hand allow us the confidence to meet our goals. The note worth making here is that the way we perceive ourselves, be it in a positive or negative light, influences our self-efficacy. Practice positive self-talk and focus on your positive features to help overturn a negative sense of self and remain engaged in your on-site or remote job.
Success in the workplace
At the end of the day, successful professional development begins from you and your attitude towards yourself and work. Applying self-efficacy theory is one way to attain positive habits that not only help workplace success, but also help create a successful, and optimistic view of your day-to-day life.
Summary of ways to develop success through self-efficacy
Employing self-efficacy theory in your everyday life can be highly rewarding to better understand yourself and your professional development. In summary, we can apply self-efficacy across our jobs, and our lives, through the following practices:
- Take the time to practice new skills and take on upskilling opportunities,
- Learn positive behaviours and goal-setting arrangements through inspiring colleagues,
- Find role-models around your work and gain inspiration from their successes,
- Establish a positive sense of self, and
- Determine what success means to you and how this changes over time.