Developing Self-Esteem in the Workplace

A good employee doesn’t only have the right skills to accomplish their job. They also possess personal traits that complement the technical expertise that can help them become even more of an asset. These characteristics include honesty and integrity, critical thinking, creativity, as well as dedication.

Another important attribute of a good employee is self-esteem. In psychology, it’s the term used to describe a person’s sense of personal value. It can be defined simply as how much you like yourself, regardless of the situation.

Why Is Self-Esteem Important in the Workplace?

It’s no secret that employees who are happy and feel good about themselves are healthier and happier. Thus, they’re able to focus and perform better at their jobs; they also get along well with their coworkers, which can boost morale and motivation.

Self-esteem is an important component of happiness, which affects a person’s relationships and emotional health. If someone doesn’t have a strong sense of self-esteem, they may feel uninspired; in addition, they may not realise their own capabilities and thus feel like they can’t contribute anything of value. These factors, in turn, can result in a loss of sense of purpose.

Indeed, employees with low self-esteem may not be able to be their best selves. They may also become defensive and unproductive, or be the complete opposite and become overly compliant (in other words, a “yes man”). Low self-esteem can even affect a person’s stress levels and how they manage certain situations.

Simply put, as a business owner or someone in a leadership position in a company, you want your people to have or develop high self-esteem if you want a productive, harmonious workplace.

How Is Confidence Different From Self-Esteem?

Some people often use confidence and self-esteem interchangeably. However, the two are markedly different. Confidence is highly situational. For example, if a person is a skilled dancer, they may feel confident in showing off their talent in front of others. However, they may become shy or hesitant if asked to deliver a speech.

Meanwhile, self-esteem is subjective but unconditional. Again, it’s a person’s idea of how valuable they are. Thus, if someone has a strong sense of self-worth, the feeling won’t change even through hardships. In fact, a person has self-esteem, they may perform even better when presented with a challenge.

How Can You Develop Self-Esteem in the Workplace?

What most people have to remember is that self-worth should not be anchored on successes or achievements because these are goals—and a strong sense of self-esteem should help someone reach these goals. In short, self-esteem is a driver of success and not a product of it.

By looking at self-esteem in this manner, people can better respond to failure. Remember: self-esteem or self-worth doesn’t fluctuate in times of crisis. Rather, it can help people learn, adapt, and move forward from mistakes.

Some of the things that can be done to cultivate unconditional self-esteem in the workplace are the following:

1) Show trust in a person’s capabilities

Hiring someone means you trust them to be able to do their job. Thus, micromanaging employees is counterintuitive in developing self-esteem. A better approach is to provide relevant professional training so that they can be more efficient and productive. This shows your confidence in them, which in turn can influence how they feel about their own capabilities.

2) Foster a sense of belongingness

There are various factors that can cause a person to develop low self-esteem. Some of them cannot be changed anymore (e.g., an unhappy childhood); thus, you should focus on what you can influence. A good example here is making your employees feel that they belong in your company. Communicate well. Make them feel understood. Encourage the sharing of ideas and healthy conversations.

3) Recognise failure then help address it

In order to properly move on after a failure, it’s important to recognise and acknowledge it. However, many people with low self-esteem tend to dwell on their failures. As such, it becomes more difficult for them to progress.

As someone with influence in the company, you can help direct an employee’s focus. Don’t dismiss the failure; again, it’s important to acknowledge it for a better understanding of the situation. However, it’s also crucial to provide means on how to address such failures. Work together so you can come up with viable solutions and turn failure into a learning experience.

Doing so can help people not only bounce back from failure but also make peace with it. More importantly, it can underscore the notion that failure does not diminish the worth of a person.

4) Acknowledge everyone’s successes

It’s natural for any workplace to have employees with differing dispositions. Some are more effusive, while some are more reserved. The former are more easily recognised, while the latter may not (through no fault of their own).

For those in leadership positions, it will serve you well to make an effort to acknowledge everyone’s successes. Take the time to conduct a thorough appraisal of a project and give praise where it’s due; when needed, give thoughtful, constructive feedback.

Ultimately, healthy self-esteem can help make your workplace a successful one that’s also conducive for cultivating personal growth. Help your employees develop their self-esteem and you’ll be poised to reach new heights.

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