By Josh Williams, Ph.D.
Leaders are looking for direction to manage employees during COVID re-entry. Stressing the importance of maintaining an internal locus of control (ILOC) with employees will help. Internal control is the degree to which people believe they control the outcomes of their lives, as opposed to external forces shaping their lives beyond their control.
A few considerations:
During this pandemic, our sense of control has been greatly diminished. Despite our best efforts, we may be very nervous even going to the grocery store much less work for 8 hours. We’ve all heard stories of perfectly healthy people dying from this dreaded disease. It’s important now to distinguish between things we can and cannot control. With ILOC, we manage those things we can control. The most important feature of ILOC is that it’s not set in stone. People can shift their own thinking from external to internal control.
One way of increasing ILOC is to focus on self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is one’s self-confidence in performing at high levels, especially in the face of significant obstacles (Bandura, 1977, 1986, 1997). Coping with COVID certainly represents a significant obstacle. Employees with high self-efficacy have better safety attitudes and behaviors. Leaders can increase employees’ self-efficacy through practical planning, providing smart goals, and then delivering effective performance feedback. This includes positive reinforcement for positive behaviors and proactive efforts. When leaders do this to support employees they improve their self-efficacy to better manage their reactions to (and actions with) COVID.
Employees need to have self-efficacy and an ILOC mindset on the job right now. This includes operating safely with COVID considerations (wearing masks, cleaning and disinfecting), but also with important activities like tying off at heights, locking and tagging out power, and proper confined space entry to ensure they’re being protected. Error precursors like fatigue, rushing, and stress are at all-time highs. Choosing an ILOC perspective keeps you and others safe during this re-entry period.
At Propulo, we can help you develop strategies for smart COVID-19 re-entry that is effective now and sustainable in the future. Please visit our website (Propulo Consulting) for more business insights and leadership resources.