Managing Self-Esteem at Work

June 7, 2009

Self-esteem at work is an important ingredient of attitudes at work. It basically revolves around two things: Levels of competency and contentment in what people do. It is important to critically (and honestly!) examine how competent we are in doing various tasks that we are supposed to do to deliver the intended results. And do we get contentment doing these tasks. Low levels of competence leads us to face discouraging, at times even humiliating experiences, that shatter our confidence. As a consequence, self-esteem goes down, which adversly affects performance at work. Contentment comes in finding relevence in things that we do and in pursuing goals that give a sense of satisfaction. Activities that foster personal growth and bring the best out of us make us feel good.

Here are a few suggestions. Look at your job responsibilities, and organise key tasks into three categories:

  • Tasks formally assigned to you;
  • Tasks that you are doing/expected to do even if they are not formally assigned. And there will be quite a few of them. In my experience, opportunity lies hidden in tasks that are not assigned formally. If you do them well, you get noticed, and the doors to future avenues open; and
  • Tasks that you would like to undertake to enhance your career growth. This is closely linked to the second point above. Take initiative, consult with your supervisor and assume tasks which interest you and which are linked with your career goals.

Now match your curent skills set against these tasks. You might like to score them in a scale of one to ten. If you get less than 8, it is time to work on it and acquire the necessary skills. Don’t get disheartended if you score yourself low in some. No one handles all tasks assigned to him/her equally well. But it is important to be aware of our shortcomings so that we can work on them. You can find a mentor within/outside your workplace and/or request for additional training to your supervisor. Particularly important is to work on skills that connect the three categories outlined above.

…Every career has its ups and downs. Each day at work poses situations that affect us. Besides, external environment like the current economic downturn in which people are losing jobs, is bound to affect self-esteem. I intend to write more on these aspects in near future.