Self-Esteem and Productivity
Self-esteem has been always thought as an important ingredient to success in life and specifically in workplaces. The Random House Dictionary defines self-esteem in two ways, as:1
- An objective respect for or favorable impression of oneself
- An inordinate or exaggeratedly favorable impression of oneself
Advocates of self-esteem usually adopt the first definition and refer to it as “self-respect”, whereas critics usually adopt the second definition and refer to it as “arrogance”, as proposed by Will Schutz, creator of The Human Element.
Self-esteem is at the heart of all human relations and productivity in organizations.
Productive and efficient functioning depends on high-self-esteem; thus the organization can capitalize by enhancing self-esteem. Therefore, it is important for the organization to bring about self-esteem in the greatest number of employees.
Basic dimensions of self-esteem1
In order for the individual to increase his/her self-esteem, the goal will be to enhance the following:
- Aliveness: I’m fully alive. I use myself well. I’m energetic
- Self-determining: I choose my own life. I’m self-determining and autonomous. I feel free not coerced. I’m responsible for myself
- Self- awareness: I tell the truth to myself and to others. I’m aware of myself. I’m aware that I have an unconscious and constantly strive to be more conscious. I don’t deceive myself
- Significance: I feel significant. I’m an important person. I make a difference
- Competence: I feel competent. I can cope with the situations presented by life
- Likability: I feel likable. I enjoy my own company. I like the person I am
As self-esteem is not an object, it cannot be given. One’s true value lies in what he/ she sees valuable, and therefore that could not be given but only an environment in which an individual discover his/her own value could be given.
Will Schutz proposed a twist to the old saying: “If I give a hungry woman a fish, she won’t be hungry. If I teach her to fish, she’ll never be hungry. But, if I create conditions within which she teaches herself how to fish, she’ll never be hungry and she may have enhanced self-esteem”.2
Therefore, to increase self-esteem organizations should focus on creating suitable environments for their employees. Most important of which includes psychological safety. As a person who does not feel safe to express himself/ herself without the fear of judgment will surely not be able to achieve inner confidence.
2Self-esteem, The Human Element, Will Schutz, 2016
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