The purpose of this paper, on self-efficacy and leadership, has two objectives. First, it comprehensively reviews approximately 25 years of research on leadership self-efficacy (LSE), beginning with LSE measurement and related criticisms. Findings concerning LSE’s relationships with leader effectiveness criteria, as well as individual and contextual influences on LSE, are presented. Second, it examines the evidence on efficacy enhancement interventions and offers some preliminary recommendations for increasing LSE through leadership development programs.
The author conducted a comprehensive literature review of the existing research on LSE, covering the main contributors to this research stream and their findings.
The review revealed substantial diversity in LSE construct development and measurement approaches. Regarding LSE and leader effectiveness, many studies reported positive relationships with potential, performance and behavioral ratings of leaders. Collective (team) efficacy has emerged as a significant mediator between LSE and group performance. Influences on LSE include several of the Big Five personality traits, while contextual antecedents are under-researched, and potentially fruitful areas for further study. Executive coaching and mentoring, as well as cognitive modeling techniques and training in constructive thought patterns, received support for enhancing LSE in developing leaders.
This paper’s review and implications should be of substantial value to current and future LSE researchers, as it summarizes past research, synthesizes the findings to draw out common themes and consistent, corroborated findings, and identifies opportunities for future research. For practitioners, the reviewed research on interventions for increasing LSE through leadership development programs provides practical guidance.
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