Leadership: Creating an Organisation Where People Believe.

We have all worked in organisations, where leaders make us feel like we can do ‘it’, whatever that ‘it’ maybe. Think about that leader who you’d walk to the end of the world for, scratch that, who you’d walk to the end of the world with. After 15 years in schools, I have seen this in various examples in peer collaboration, a singular visionary and even constructed through systems and structures.

How does this happen?

Albert Bandura’s defines ‘Perceived self-efficacy’ as being concerned with people’s beliefs in their capabilities to produce given attainments (Bandura, 1997). Well, I define it the feeling or the belief that you can lead or teach well, it’s well documented that teachers with high self-efficacy are more effective in the classroom. Teacher’s taking more risks with the curriculum (Guskey, 1988) to using new teaching approaches (Gibson & Dembo, 1984) and increasing pupil’s motivation (Midgely et al. 1989) and consequently their overall achievement (Brookover et al. 1979).

Having a greater sense of self-efficacy is linked to the Rosenthal effect (Pygmalion effect). If we swop ‘other‘ in the following quote with ‘self’ we observe a similar effect.

“When we expect certain behaviours of others, we are likely to act in ways that make the expected behaviour more likely to occur.”

(Rosenthal 1985)

As a side note: The ultimate aim of all leadership is organisational and efficacy and professional (the profession) efficacy but that is a blog for another day.

We can increase our self-efficacy through

  1. Mastery experiences (repeated successful experiences doing it)
  2. Vicarious experiences/Role modelling (seeing others do it and learning from that experience)
  3. Verbal persuasion (being told that they can do it)
  4. Controlling Physiological arousal (controlling your emotional states such as anxiety, etc)

(Bandura 1997)


Ways to Increase Self Efficacy Implications for leaders
Mastery Experiences Creating an environment of trust that allows teachers to develop their practice.
Vicarious Experiences Making the capacity for practitioners to see great practice.
Verbal Persuasion All organisations are built on trust, where teachers are told and convinced that they can achieve their goals. This has to be exhibited by leaders at all level.
Controlling Physiological Arousal Imposter Syndrome, fear, anxiety, stress, etc. of followers have to be managed. Yes, some followers will have an innate propensity for resilience, however, others will not. I advocate a coaching and mentoring system which factors in the above.


Guskey, T.R. (1988). Context variables that affect measures of teacher efficacy. Journal of Educational Research, 81, (1), 41-47.

Brookover, W., Beady, C., Flood, P., Schweitzer, J., & Wisenbaker, J. (1979). School social systems and student achievement: Schools can make a difference. New York: Bergin

Midgely, C., Feldlaufer, H., & Eccles, J.S (1989). Change in teacher efficacy and student self- and task-related beliefs in mathematics during the transition to junior high school. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81 (2), 247-258.

Gibson, S., & Dembo, M.H. (1984). Teacher efficacy: A construct validation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76, 569-582.

Bandura, A. (1997), Self Efficacy: The exercise of Control. New York. W. H. Freeman & Co. https://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Bandura/BanduraGuide2006.pdf

Rosenthal, R., and E. Y. Babad. 1985. Pygmalion in the gymnasium. Educational Leadership 43 (1): 36–39.

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