As a manager, it could prove quite difficult to manage your more insecure employees on top of managing baseline self-esteem for everyone, and if you simply aren’t managing these things then it is definitely time for a change. The reason for this is that the mindset of “the workplace is a place to keep your head down and work hard” is completely outdated and this attitude from leaders causes many employees to quit their jobs despite enjoying the field or receiving good pay. Work-life takes up such a large portion of our time and effort that it cannot simply be all about work, it has to be about the employees and their wellbeing, you should want for them to achieve many great things whilst being under your organisation as well as being comfortable and happy in the workplace.
Self-esteem plays a huge role in employees overall happiness which helps them be motivated towards goals, create a good workplace culture and form better relationships. When an employee has a good level of self-esteem they are far more likely to trust their own judgements with confidence, ultimately leading to them making better decisions consistently. Leaders also need good and healthy levels of self-esteem in order to have the confidence to manage other employees effectively as well as make good decisions that they can feel confident about. When employees are aware of their self-worth they are more likely to contribute thoughts, ideas and feelings to group discussions or meetings. This really helps organisations to grow and develop since they will always benefit from feedback and new perspectives from employees. There is a clear connection between employee performance and self-esteem which can be positive when there is a healthy amount of self-esteem, but negative when there is a lack of self-esteem
Low confidence is something the majority of people will deal with at some point in time, although once it begins it can be hard to control and return to a confident mindset which has a huge negative impact on our personal and professional lives. Low self-esteem can create many fears in the workplace especially of the new and unfamiliar, it may even develop into a lack of psychological safety which can create unproductive behaviours/tendencies or underperformance at work. Less productivity will result in unmet goals or deadlines as well as much poorer work quality, when the employee realises this, their self-esteem may lower even more especially if they used to provide good quality work on a regular basis. This is where managing low self-esteemed employees gets difficult, as negative feedback will only contribute to the problem, as will attempting to get them to take accountability. So how do we manage employees self-esteem?
The first and easiest strategy is to build up their confidence long before it begins to decline, if you have a confident employee that does not mean they aren’t susceptible to falling into a negative mindset. In order to keep building and employees confidence healthily, you should be giving regular feedback packed with positives that you have genuinely noticed in their work. Not only will this help their confidence but also their performance, 69% of employees state that they would work harder if their efforts were being recognised through feedback, so there is no loss here! If feedback is something you struggle with, you may want to read our blog on giving and receiving feedback as a leader or head over to Betterup to learn how to give constructive feedback. The easiest way to stay ahead of declining self-esteem is to be aware of your employee's strengths and weaknesses. Never set them up for failure, for example, older generations may be more uncomfortable around technology and will lack confidence if given extensive I.T tasks, avoid this by keeping their duty’s within what they know or providing the correct training before expecting more technical based tasks of them.
Plenty of times you may end up with an employee who develops low self-esteem over time, what should you do in this situation? All your answers can be found at the cause, but take the time to reflect before opening that conversation. It could be damaging to assume low self-esteem of someone who isn’t experiencing that at all, if you can see clear personality difference that is negatively affecting performance and you have reason to be concerned, then as a manager it is appropriate for you to call a 1 on 1 meeting to discuss what may be happening. You may come up with your own assumptions about what could be causing their low self-esteem, but keep these thoughts to yourself unless your employee feels unsure about where these feelings came from. Always allow them to speak first, and listen well to their possible concerns in order to find the correct solution. It may be that a new task has hindered their confidence and they could do with help from other team members or some extra coaching. Poor workplace culture could also be the reason, in which case you will need to work on your establishment's team building.
Now, what about employees who have low self-confidence before being hired? This will be a little more difficult to manage as it is likely that at home and personal factors are to blame here and those will almost always be out of your control but there is still plenty you can offer to give your employee every chance to become more self-confident. You should have your onboarding process perfected to a high standard as it is incredibly important for setting standards and making new hires feel welcomed and able. The onboarding process should consist of plenty of meetings and team-building exercises where you and your new employee can establish basic trust which you should then continue to build on. This trust will help greatly in giving your employee the space to self express thoughts and concerns where you may learn the root of the self-esteem issues and you can offer appropriate solutions from there. If not, basic at-work goals can still help build anyone's confidence, so be sure to celebrate all achievements and recognise all efforts given.
Any understanding of self-esteem will be helpful in managing others’ confidence as well as learning about your own self-esteem and gaining that emotional intelligence for better performance, a useful resource to learn more about self-esteem is VeryWellMind where they discuss “what is self-esteem?”
The Modern Mind Group are emotioneering human performance not engineering it.
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