Managing Self-Esteem at Work

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.


4 Responses to Managing Self-Esteem at Work

  1. dr geeta says:

    My observation is same.You do your given task and then take up not given one.But many times in respect to job assiged to takes all my time at work.and those who are taking up unassiged task are actually neglecting their primary assignment.
    Such people put the burden over others,they are doing two peoples work.
    When You write more lets see how things turn out.

  2. vibha says:

    This article is very handy for me, coming at a time when I am looking for some original stuff to share with my team. So much thanks Afsir.

    Your point on self assessment is very apt. And yes it is important to take initiative. I will go a step further and say moving out of the comfort zone. When we do that by taking up some tasks we assume we are not capable of doing, and when we do that, while doing that, we not only develop a new set of skills but the achievement boosts our self esteem.

    Look forward to more such stuff.

  3. Indrani says:

    Agreed that self esteem is largely determined by competence and contentment. But many a times we find highly competent people not satisfied with the job they are engaged in. They feel underutilised and think that their full potential is not being exploited. Opposed to this less competent persons are happy and content becuase they don’t think much and simply continue to do their assigned job. So I think that perfect balance lies in acquiring skills to become more efficient but at the same time being highly adaptive to the immediate work environment so that we derive job satisfaction. Key to healthy self esteem is becoming aware of our personal strengths and accepting ourselves as worthy persons despite any real weaknesses we may have – afterall nobody is perfect. The second option of taking up unassigned responsibilities is a sure way of getting to do meaningful work, being successful, confident and enhancing ones self esteem.

  4. […] one of my earlier posts – Managing Self-Esteem at Work – I had made a few suggestions. Contentment comes in finding relevance in things we do; and […]

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