Brain power

Developing self-efficacy in workers

Originally posted on The Horizons Tracker.

In these most uncertain of times, the ability to have a degree of self-efficacy is strongly linked to our ability to get through whatever circumstances we may encounter.  New research1 from IE University Madrid suggests that such self-efficacy can be developed in employees when they are encouraged to improve their emotional flexibility.

“The current pandemic situation demands flexibility and resilient,” the researchers explain. “Learning new skills and adapting continuously can result in a lot of pressure and insecurity. Developing self-confidence to handle this and to continue to learn new skills is essential for sustainable employment and participation in society.”

Emotional flexibility

The researchers argue that developing this self-efficacy relies to a large extent on our emotional flexibility, as this helps us to handle changes more effectively, which in turn helps us to develop better mental health.

Dealing with change brings people face to face with discomfort, so it’s important that people get used to that fact.  The researchers suggest that emotional flexibility, or as they call it “Acceptance and Commitment Training or Therapy” (ACT), can prove crucial.  ACT helps people to develop the skills required to deal with stress and discomfort.

It’s an evidence-based approach and is often used in clinical therapy when dealing with things such as depression and anxiety.  It’s an approach that the researchers believe can also be effective in a work context, and they were able to showcase this among knowledge workers in Germany, where ACT training helped to develop higher self-confidence and resilience.

“There is a fast increasing need in society for skills related to self-confidence and emotional flexibility,” the researchers conclude. “There should be increasing training in the areas of emotional intelligence and flexibility but these trainings often remain optional. This research emphasizes the urgency, effectiveness and feasibility of training in the area of self-confidence and emotional flexibility.”

Article source: Developing Self-Efficacy In Workers.

Header image source: Sydney Rae on Unsplash.


  1. Brassey, J., Witteloostuijn, A. V., Huszka, C., Silberzahn, T., & Dam, N. V. (2020). Emotional flexibility and general self-efficacy: A pilot training intervention study with knowledge workers. PloS one, 15(10), e0237821.
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Adi Gaskell

I'm an old school liberal with a love of self organizing systems. I hold a masters degree in IT, specializing in artificial intelligence and enjoy exploring the edge of organizational behavior. I specialize in finding the many great things that are happening in the world, and helping organizations apply these changes to their own environments. I also blog for some of the biggest sites in the industry, including Forbes, Social Business News, Social Media Today and, whilst also covering the latest trends in the social business world on my own website. I have also delivered talks on the subject for the likes of the NUJ, the Guardian, Stevenage Bioscience and CMI, whilst also appearing on shows such as BBC Radio 5 Live and Calgary Today.

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