Self-Efficacy: Important for Women in Business


Are you familiar with the term Self-Efficacy? It is described as an individual’s belief in his or her capacity to execute behaviors necessary to produce specific performance attainments. Whereas a term we may be more familiar with, self-esteem is a person’s overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self.

So we may hold ourselves in high regard but at the end of the day, if we don’t believe we can accomplish the end goal, we’ll struggle to project the leadership ability necessary to direct a team.

In the article, The Three Pillars of Leadership Confidence & How to Build Them, author Marissa Levin talks more about the combination of these two self-awareness elements.

When working with my clients, my goal is to develop in them a healthy combination of high self-esteem and high self-efficacy. This empowers them to confidently communicate their value proposition, and deliver on their brand promise. Many times, clients come to me with an insecurity about their leadership abilities, or an insecurity/unawareness about their value in the workplace. Sometimes, it’s both. As I tell my clients, we can’t expect our clients to value us and have confidence in us if we don’t see it in ourselves first.

People suffering from Impostor Syndrome are in constant fear of being “found out.” Found to be lacking in some area of effective leadership.

Mike San Roman offers 8 tips for overcoming Impostor Syndrome:

  1. Recognize that it exists.
  2. When you receive positive feedback, embrace it with objectivity and internalize it. By denying it, you are hurting that person’s judgment.
  3. Don’t attribute your successes to luck.
  4. Don’t talk about your abilities or successes with words like “merely,” “only,” “simply,” etc.
  5. Keep a journal. Writing your successes and failures down gives you a retrospective insight about them, and re-reading them makes you remember equally both of them.

See Mike’s other tips at https://www.fastcompany.com/3036006/8-practical-steps-to-getting-over-your-impostor-syndrome

Of these, I would like to jump more into # 2:

Often when we are complimented for a job well done we brush it off as insignificant but if you put yourself in the shoes of the one offering praise, you realize how your response affects them. By treating the compliment as unnecessary you are actually questioning the judgement of that person. You are questioning their ability to recognize hard work or creative thinking. You are belittling them with your casual albeit humble response.

As for keeping a journal; this is something I highly recommend. I don’t know that I agree with writing down your failures; I think we already place to much focus on them. Rather spend your journaling time writing down your successes:

  • Projects completed
  • Creative solutions you’ve authored
  • Connections you have made
  • People you have mentored
  • Skills you have learned
  • Challenges you have overcome

So often we finish a project and move forward never glancing back at how far we came in order to achieve the goal. We move right on to the next task. Taking a moment to journal those successes will give you a place you can come and reread about your wins.

Consider doing the same with your email. I have set up a folder called Feel Good Emails. When someone sends me a message of thanks or praise, I save those emails in that folder. Then when I’m feeling frustrated or questioning my value, I open those emails and am immediately taken back to the moment in time of the success.

As a leader, we not only have to exude confidence but we also have to believe in our own abilities. People can see when you are being fake or are questioning your strengths.

Let’s end with this quote from Jeff Haden, who shares this insight in his article, 10 Cherished Beliefs of Highly Successful People:

Incredible leaders can consistently inspire, motivate, and make you feel better about yourself than even you think you have a right to feel. They’re the kind of people you’ll follow not because you have to but because you want to. You’ll follow them anywhere.

And you’ll follow them forever because they have a knack for making you feel like you aren’t actually following. Wherever you’re headed, you always feel like you’re going there together.

He is right, but the only way you can pull that off is by first believing in yourself.

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JJ DiGeronimo

Speaker, Author & Thought Leader for Women in Tech & Girls in STEM.

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