How To Build Self-Efficacy for New Job Success



Self-efficacy is your belief about your ability to influence events that affect your life.

Your self-efficacy beliefs determine how you think, feel, motivate yourself, and behave.

If you have a strong sense of efficacy, then you approach difficult tasks as challenges to be mastered rather than as threats to be avoided.

In The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels, Michael Watkins writes about how to build your foundation for self-efficacy.

The Three Pillars of Self-Efficacy

How can you create virtuous cycles that build momentum? How do you avoid vicious cycles that sap your strength? You build a foundation for self-efficacy. Your build your foundation with three pillars.

  • Pillar 1: Adopting Success Strategies.
  • Pillar 2: Enforcing Personal Disciplines.
  • Pillar 3: Building Your Support System.

Pillar 1: Adopting Success Strategies

Watkins outlines the following success strategies:

  • Promote yourself.
  • Accelerate your learning.
  • Match strategy to situation.
  • Secure early wins.
  • Negotiate success.
  • Achieve alignment.
  • Build your team.
  • Create coalitions.

For more information on the strategies, see Ten Key Success Strategies for New Job Success.

To see how well your are doing with the strategies, see How To Check Whether You’re on Track.

Also see, How To Avoid Vicious Cycles to make sure you’re keeping your balance and staying focused on the right things.

Pillar 2: Enforcing Personal Disciplines

Watkins identifies key personal disciplines:

  • Plan to plan.
  • Judiciously defer commitment.
  • Set aside time for the hard work.
  • Go to the balcony.
  • Focus on influence process design.
  • Check in with yourself.
  • Recognize when to quit.

See The 15-Minute Structured Reflection for New Leaders.

Pillar 3: Building Your Support System

Watkins identifies the keys to an effective support system:

  • Assert control locally.
  • Stabilize the home front.
  • Build your advice and counsel network.

Quickly setup your basic infrastructure at work, develop your routines and set expectations. This will free you up to work on the tough stuff. Don’t let home, rock the boat at work.

See How To Build Your Advice-and-Counsel Network for tips on building your support system.

Key Take Aways

Here are my key take aways:

  • Don’t fail at the basics. Get the basics right. Either you master administration or it masters you. This is also a case where a stitch in time saves nine. If you start off on the right foot, you make it easier downstream while folks are making their minds up about you. Impress them up front and life gets easier. You’ll build momentum for success if you establish good habits early on.
  • Grow your support system. You can roll with the punches if you have an effective support system.
  • Leverage the success strategies. They’re a proven recipe for results.

You Might Also Like

Ten Key Success Strategies

Checking Whether You’re on Track

Building Your Advice-and-Counsel Network

Yerkes-Dodson Human Performance Curve

Avoiding Vicious Cycles

Guidelines for Structured Reflection

Sequencing to Build Momentum

Securing Early Wins

Five Conversations to Have with Your Boss


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