What has Self Esteem got to do with Productivity in the workplace and why should managers care?
Poor self esteem can make almost every aspect of life more difficult and our "work life" is no exception.
People with low self esteem can react in unexpected ways to the demands of life, and interactions with people around them. This is because of the particular patterns of thought, or habitual ways of interpreting what is going on around them in the workplace. It will, for example, impact on how they react in stressful situations, or during times of challenge and change.
While it is possible for people change, an important question is how to effectively manage someone with poor self esteem in the workplace. This requires enormous skill on the part of their manager or supervisor to develop an understanding of their team member and to turn the situation around through carefully developing a positive relationship with the employee.
The problem will often show up in ways that can affect work performance (e.g., not contributing in meetings, not brining problems to attention until it is too late, not reacting well to criticism). Negative management reactions to these issues can lead to a cycle of criticism followed by a further deterioration of performance due to increased fear.
Focusing on strengths might be a more effective way to bring out the best in these employees as it will help to develop a good (trusting) working relationship where the employee believes they are a valued member of the team and trusts the manager to react in a balanced and supportive way. This will form a foundation to support the employee to feel comfortable to "have a go" and make their best contribution uninhibited by the fear that normally restrains their performance through complex neural processes.
This process takes time and patience but is often worthwhile. If the manager does not have these skills, it would be useful for them to seek out support from their organisation to develop them through Leadership training or Coaching. If it is the manager or supervisor that has poor self esteem this will affect their ability to manage their team to their full potential, and may affect their own career progression. Hopefully they would have the insight to seek assistance from someone with specific skills to help them such as a Leadership Coach who is aware of the principles of Positive Leadership and MindWise management.
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