Self-esteem is defined as an individual’s subjective assessment of their abilities, which would factor into their bigger value of self-worth. Factors that could sway or influence one’s self-esteem are – perceptions, others’ reactions, experiences at home, school, work & community, age, achievements, role/status in society, ago, and social relationships, just to name a few. It was seen that the general reaction to getting a positive compliment or form of praise is to deny or underplay their performance of the task. This negative reaction was due to the positive comment still being seen as a judgement of the individual’s actions, which in turn makes them conscious of it. There are two categorizations of self-esteem –
Poor v/s healthy self-esteem, which is seen as differing manifestations into the individual’s personality. A person with poor self-esteem would be overly critical and base their worth on their performance in the present, which would need to be reinforced by external factors, i.e. compliments from friends, acknowledgement from co-workers, positions or success in work-related tasks, etc. which would be seen as temporary to overcome the critical valuation of their skills. For example, a person with poor self-esteem when given a task might need constant agreeable comments and reassurance from others while implementing the idea, all the while completely being pessimistic about the outcome or their role. In the same situation, a person with healthy self-esteem night assess themselves, their strengths and weaknesses to be able to take the task head-on but only ask for input/help when they are absolutely stuck instead of for support. Low self-esteem would result in behaviors like anxiety, stress, depression, problems with relationships, impair academic/professional performance, increase chances of consuming alcohol or drugs, etc.
In the workplace, increasingly low self-esteem may even affect the productivity of the company as a whole. Earlier, the work outcome would be a primary source of praise for
individuals, depending on the amount or quality of the work done, deadlines met, promotions or projects are given, etc. but due to the increase in the speed of all the work that is done daily, many a time the mere stress of the upcoming day, causes us to overlook the milestones met in the present.
There is high competition and unclear lines measuring productivity, that no individual feels like they are doing enough or as much as the next employee. Since many base their value based on others, it would seem almost impossible to reach the idea of perfect and even if we do, would not seem like the idea of high performance, high-stress jobs make people feel even more boxed in and increase the feeling of frustration and aggression amongst workers. The hours are long and sometimes we even take our work home with us which ends us making it a burden and more monotonous each day. Sometimes, like with interpersonal experiences, when someone compliments your work it is easier to view it through a lens of negativity, jealousy, or even skepticism, in an environment where feedback and acknowledgement are not common. Companies should reevaluate their systems of human resources that are present in their corporations, as the employee retention and burnout rate and highly dependent on their perception of their experience there. There should be regular feedback and brainstorming sessions, addressing individual issues, collaboration projects, counseling opportunities, and clear OKRs (objectives and key results) for tracking individual progress, which could be regarded as a separate entity rather than comparative tool.
If a worker is more self-aware about their strengths and weaknesses, they are able to combat a task better than if they are questioning their methods and ideas every step along the way. An open line of communication between the employees and their managers can go a long way to appreciate, acknowledge, and improve an individual’s self-worth and performance on a large scale. The idea of working towards better outcomes and execution of undertakings, as a team/group gives a cohesive feeling of togetherness and adds into the idea of worth experiences by the employee. Leading by example is a big part of adapting to the different changes and psychological concerns of the workforce and their productivity as a unit.
About the Author.
Ms. Devika Kapur, Head of outreach and media operation at lena research and consulting