Definition of Low Self-Esteem in Relation to Your Work

I started to look into the definition of low self-esteem when I had to grapple with staff confidence in general. In my opinion, some of them were skilled and knowledgeable but their performance did not seem to match their skills. I wondered if it had to do with their self-esteem.

Probably the most practical definition of self-esteem I have read is by The National Association for Self-Esteem. The National Association for Self-Esteem defined self-esteem as "The experience of being capable of meeting life's challenges and being worthy of happiness."

This definition breaks self-esteem into two components – the sense of Competency and Worthiness and the relationship between these two components. This definition allowed me to deduce the definition of low self-esteem and how to handle it.

1. The Sense of Competency
To understand the definition of low self-esteem, let us then first understand the competency component of self-esteem. The best way to understand this component is that it relates to the behavioral section. This is “what we do.” Hence, having a sense of competency means having the conviction and confidence to do the tasks at hand and achieving the intended results.

2. The Sense of Worthiness
The second thing to do to understand the definition of low self-esteem is to understand the component of worthiness of self-esteem. I made the common mistake like many people until I saw this definition. Worthiness is not about simply feeling good about oneself. It involves feelings like finding relevance in things that foster personal growth and making the commitment to these goals that gives one a sense of satisfaction. This then is the attitude and belief section of self-esteem. It is the “what we think and feel.”

Now, Why Do I Find This Definition of Self-Esteem Practical?
As a manager, in order to address a particular challenge I needed to diagnose the problem as clearly as possible. This definition made me realize that maybe it isn’t so much as to understand the definition of low self-esteem, rather the components that make up healthy or unhealthy self-esteem.

1. Unhealthy Self-Esteem In Your Workplace
Let’s remove whatever preconceived notion you have on the definition of low self-esteem you may have now. Given that you know the two components of self-esteem, the relationship of the two components founded on reality gives you healthy self-esteem.

Consider the relationship between these two components and how it exists in your workplace. If someone has a wrong perception of his or her competency, without a sense of worthiness - this will result in boastfulness. A healthy sense of worthiness balances the competency component by focusing the person on values of the goal.

The same is true when the balance is flipped. Someone with a strong sense of worthiness but who is not competent will be filled with self-importance. A healthy sense of competency in this situation ensures that the person knows good feeling is to be earned not given.

2. Healthy Balance
Thus a healthy self-esteem is one where the two components have a healthy balance or relationship. It is grounded in reality. If you feel you or your team mates suffer from low self-esteem perhaps take another look at the components that make up a healthy self-esteem.

For workplace purposes, I find this definition of self-esteem more practical than the definition of low self-esteem. This is because it allows one to work on components that may not be low self-esteem but unhealthy self-esteem that can be counter productive in the workplace.




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