<Back to Articles Page
The following article
was written by Coleman Patterson and
appeared in the Business section of the Abilene Reporter-News.
Have confidence in confidence, February
17, 2008, 2D.
need the map, I know exactly where I am going.
Those were the words that rang though my head as I left my house on the way
to a conference in Dallas. I had been to the
conference location four times before and was certain of my route. It was not until I actually saw the huge pile of
dirt in the middle of the road about a mile from my destination that I realized my planned
route to the conference had hit a dead end. After
getting back on I-20, taking another exit from the highway, and driving around in
rush-hour traffic for more than an hour, I finally arrived at the conferenceonly ten
My adventures in
driving without direction in Dallas reminded me of my summer travel adventures in Europe. I spent 17 days traveling with my family this
past summer driving through Austria, Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Italy, and
Slovenia. On that trip, we took wrong roads,
turned around, drove on pedestrian pathways, missed exits, drove through ice and snow,
read signs incorrectly (in German, Italian, and Slovenian), and encountered many one-way
streets that we had expected to be two-way. Throughout
our travels, however, we eventually reached every location to which we were heading. Sometimes the trips were simple and sometimes they
were quite complicated. Toward the end of our
European driving adventure, we were quite confident that we could overcome almost any
obstacle thrown in our way.
As I drove around
Dallas looking for familiar-sounding roads and scanning my memory for images of the
correct layout of roads and geography, I found myself unusually calm and confident. It occurred to me that if I could survive and
succeed in my European driving mishaps, I could certainly reach my destination in Dallas.
processes at play in my mind were what researcher Albert Bandura described as
self-efficacy. The confidence gained by
succeeding in a task helps a person gain confidence when faced with similar tasks. Success driving in Europe helped me feel more
confident when driving without direction in Dallas.
development programs are built upon the ideas of creating self-efficacy in program
participants. The confidence gained from
succeeding in leadership and teamwork exercises can help build confidence in participants
that will benefit them in real life situations later.
While it is quite unlikely that leaders and managers will have to lead
workers through high-ropes elements, creative problem-solving exercises and team-building
tasks, or camp-type team competitions, they will have to lead others through tasks and
situations that require problem solving, effective communication, conflict management,
creativity, and teamwork. Effective
leadership development programs provide participants with opportunities to study and
practice leadership and teamwork in controlled environments that can generalize to other
situations. The skills and competencies
developed must mirror those of the workplace in order to build confidence and
self-efficacy in program participants. That
confidence can help leaders from feeling lost when they confront new and unknown
to Articles Page