Summery benefits of an internal locus of control
- Belief in one’s control over their life
- Improved information acquisition
- Better decision-making processes
- Self-efficacy, job effectiveness, and higher achievement
- Less risk of burnout
- Generally increased happiness
- Increase leadership adaptability
Rapidly changing leadership challenges
Leadership education has undergone a substantial shift. Life and working world seem to have become more complex with competing urgencies and over-dynamic developments of issues that challenge the required qualities of the next generation of leaders. Leaders today need to be able to find ever-new solutions and adaptations to challenging situations. This can be traced back, for example, to the growing world population and increased growth expectations in all areas of life and economy that cause growth issues in the following six areas :
- Agricultural yield
- Natural resource management
- Energy production and consumption
- Climate change, and
- Global health
Organizations keep aspiring to increase profits, acting ethically, and promoting community and environmental sustainability. How will it be possible to optimize all these aspects while not doing it at the cost of others ? One answer is that it requires leaders who believe they can respond to these challenges in their own capacity, a concept that is coined as “locus of control.”
Definition of internal vs. external locus of control
Locus of control is about a person’s confidence that he or she can control events in their lives. Individuals with an internal locus of control have a strong sense of self-responsibility and that they have the power to change their lives. Externally-controlled individuals believe that they are not in control of their lives and it is instead chance, opportunities, and other individuals and events (i.e., the circumstances) that determine their destiny .
According to research, adverse consequences from an external locus of control are heightened levels of intolerance and anxiety, and finally higher burnout rates .
Internal locus of control, on the other hand, is associated with individuals gathering more information , which improves their decision-making process, effectiveness, and achievement. That internally-controlled individuals benefit from increased self-efficacy is in line with these results. For example, it was found that teams with individuals of relatively high internal locus of control are able of higher performance in a self-reliant way respectively without a leader . Last but not least, people with an internal locus of control generally enjoy more happiness .
Adaptation of leadership style
Locus of control is one aspect of personality. Leaders with an internal locus of control can adapt their leadership style as required to achieve the leadership objectives effectively and efficiently .
What’s your locus of control?
LEt’s find out more about ourselves. You can find a couple of free online assessments related to locus of control. The following example structures the result along different dimensions of life, such as achievement, career, relationships, and health. Comparing different tests, you will see soon that it becomes quite clear how to distinguish between internal and external locus of control.
Example result overview
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