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Research Brief: Leadership Resilience, Wisdom, and Self-Efficacy

October 6, 2014

Researchers Svence and Greaves attempted to determine if there is a relationship between resilience, wisdom and general self-efficacy (GSE) for leaders. GSE is defined as overall confidence in ones’ ability to cope with challenges across multiple situations whereas wisdom is defined in this study as having three primarily components: cognitive, reflective and emotional effects. The study consisted of 83 leaders and managers across industry sectors in Latvia who voluntarily participated. Their study found that there is in fact a positive relationship between these three factors and self-efficacy is a key driver of resilience.  A positive relationship was also discovered overall wisdom and resilience. One surprising finding of the study was a trend suggesting that managers with more than 20 or more years of work experience had lower resilience scores. This could be related to more stressful job roles as highly tenured managers or possibly burnout in their roles. 

 

There are implications of this study for practical resilience-building interventions with managers and leaders.  Efforts to build resilience should ideally focus on building a manager’s sense of belief in their ability to cope with adversity, as well as specific strategies to build wisdom. A manager might have effective coping skills, but without a sense of belief in those skills, they may not translate to resilient outcomes. Helping managers develop the capacity to reflect on ones’ experience and behavior could translate to a greater sense of resilience, as well as recognizing past situations when they used highly effective coping skills. The findings suggest that special attention should be given to highly seasoned managers with more than 20 years experience because of their propensity to demonstrate lower levels of resilience.

 

References:

Svence, G., & Greaves, V. (2013). Factors of resilience, wisdom and self-efficacy as positive resources of leaders in sample of Latvian business managers. Problems of Psychology in the 21st Century, 5, 96-108. 

 

(c) Kevin Nourse, PhD 2014

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