Part 1: Obama’s Hidden Strengths–Self-Efficacy and Empathy

I have been pondering what it is about President Obama that connects with people so well. Two constructs say it all: Self efficacy and Empathy. So on the day after a hard fought election, I think it is appropriate to review the first of these characteristics of President Obama–Self-Efficacy:

Psychologist Albert Bandura has defined self-efficacy as our belief in our ability to succeed in specific situations. Your sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how you approach goals, tasks, and challenges. The concept of self-efficacy lies at the center Bandura’s social cognitive theory, which emphasizes the role of observational learning and social experience in the development of personality. According to Bandura’s theory, people with high self-efficacy – that is, those who believe they can perform well – are more likely to view difficult tasks as something to be mastered rather than something to be avoided.

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