Self-Worth in the Workplace

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated 27 December 2022

Published 25 August 2020

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Healthy self-worth is essential for maximising your work performance, achieving success in your career and improving your overall quality of life. Positive self-worth helps you feel better about yourself and the work you do. It's critical to understand how you perceive yourself and know how to improve your self-perception if needed. In this article, we define what self-worth is, explore the reasons why it's important in the workplace and provide actionable strategies to help you improve your self-worth.

What is self-worth?

Self-worth is the evaluation and perception of your value as an individual. Your self-worth impacts how you interact with the world. It also changes how you let people treat you and affects your mental and physical wellbeing.

A high sense of positive self-worth comes from the ability to recognise your positive qualities, and the skills and expertise you have to offer the world. It also helps you better understand your accomplishments from the past and believe you can overcome significant challenges. You can maintain healthy self-worth if you master a phenomenon psychologists refer to as the negativity bias. This is a cognitive bias that refers to our tendency to feel more impacted mentally by negative experiences than positive ones.

Why is self-worth important in the workplace?

Having a high sense of self-worth is important in the workplace. Some of the benefits of recognising your self-worth include:

  • Increased engagement: Recognising your self-worth at work can lead to higher efficiency, enhanced productivity and better relationships with coworkers.

  • Improved work quality: A high sense of self-worth improves the quality, efficiency and productivity of your work. A strong trust in yourself motivates you to achieve your work goals.

  • Build self-confidence: Realising your self-worth helps you build confidence, and trust in yourself and boosts your self-value, which helps you maintain and improve your self-worth overall.

  • Career advancement: Finding your self-worth can help you advance in your career by allowing you to trust your judgment and make better decisions, which are important leadership qualities. These can help you secure a new job, promotion, or pay raise.

  • Positive mental state: Trusting your judgments and abilities allows your mental state to develop positively and enables you to praise rather than criticise yourself more often.

  • Build better relationships with team members: A boost in your self-worth allows you to feel more positive and encourage yourself to spread your positivity and support among other coworkers to build relationships.

Self-worth vs. self-esteem

Self-worth and self-esteem are similar concepts with slightly different meanings. Self-esteem is how you evaluate yourself by assessing your qualities and attributes. Healthy self-esteem occurs when you have positive thoughts, feelings and beliefs about yourself. Your self-worth is believing that you're valuable, no matter how low or high your self-esteem is at the moment. High self-worth keeps you emotionally stable. It allows you to believe in yourself and feel that you are valued even as your self-esteem fluctuates.

How to increase your self-esteem

Boosting your self-esteem allows your self-worth to grow alongside it, which can make you a more positive, passionate and motivated person in the workplace. You can build your self-esteem, and therefore, improve your self-worth in the following ways:

  1. Identify your value and worth

  2. Determine your strengths and abilities

  3. Enhance your skills and challenge yourself

  4. Put these skills toward a career you're passionate about

1. Identify your value and worth

To know your worth, you should assign a value to certain attributes of yourself, such as your skills and abilities. Start by looking at what traits are meaningful to you. For example, this can be attention to detail or honesty. Find the personal qualities you value and take note of these details.

2. Determine your strengths and abilities

Decide what activities you enjoy partaking in and why you enjoy them. These can be activities like reading, cooking, writing or hiking. After learning what you enjoy doing, discover your strengths within each one. When you take part in these activities, you can remind yourself why you enjoy participating in them and how you excel in these activities to boost your confidence. Taking part in an activity that you're confident in helps build your self-esteem and motivates you to continue participating in something that makes you happy.

Read more: How to Identify Your Strengths in the Workplace (With Types)

3. Enhance your skills and challenge yourself

After learning what skills you have, start challenging yourself by enhancing these skills. If you enjoy running, sign up for a race. If you're talented at cooking, join a cooking class to develop the skill further. This helps you take pride in your accomplishments and build core competencies. Having strengthened skills allows you to feel more confident to take on new tasks in both your personal and work life.

4. Put these skills toward a career you're passionate about

After your skills have developed and you've learned more about what you're passionate about, determine if you can use these skills in your career. You can apply your newfound skills and confidence toward certain tasks or responsibilities. This can make you feel more motivated to complete tasks, take on new responsibilities and voice your options to your supervisor.

Using skills that you're confident in during your career and throughout everyday life helps you believe in yourself, build self-esteem and essentially enhance your self-worth.

Tips for creating self-worth at work

Here are some tips on finding self-worth and building self-esteem:

  • Define your purpose

  • Appreciate your achievements

  • Create integrity in work relationships

  • Find meaning in your work

  • Evaluate your interactions

  • Be solutions-focused

  • Replace negative thoughts with positive ones

Define your purpose

Find out what your career goals are and how you want your coworkers and potential employers to view you. Set a plan of action for yourself to achieve these goals. Actively take steps to become more authentic in your work and self-identity. While doing this, you'll notice your self-esteem begin to improve.

Appreciate your achievements

Take time to think about everything you've achieved to remind yourself of your worth. To help you regain your self-worth, try writing down three things you have accomplished at work each day. Even something as subtle as maintaining your composure during a stressful experience can help you improve. Keep an account of your achievements in whatever medium works for you. Create a visual board, a diary or a note on your phone.

Create integrity in work relationships

The process of discovering self-worth primarily consists of inner work, but growing positive relationships at work can increase your confidence. It can also lower possible stress factors in your work environment. Building relationships at work can help others see you in a positive light. It can also increase your ability to see your intrinsic value as a human being and as a worker.

Related: What Is Integrity? (Definition and Examples)

Find meaning in your work

Finding value in your work makes it easier to motivate and engage yourself in it. Find out what it is about your work that relates to your identity. By finding a true passion for the work you do, you'll notice productivity and the quality of your work improve. When you find meaning in yourself, boost your self-worth by acknowledging your strengths and potential. You'll find yourself gaining more confidence to take the lead in situations such as team meetings and training.

If finding your passion seems challenging, discover ways to highlight your values at work. You might feel unsure of how to raise low self-esteem in your workplace. If so, request opportunities to get involved at work, like volunteering with coworkers or joining a party planning committee. You may find a new passion or skill that adds value and builds your self-worth.

Evaluate your interactions

It's important to consider how you want your coworkers to view you. Set boundaries that ensure your colleagues treat you appropriately. Show your coworkers you value yourself, your time and their time. Speak clearly and confidently when conversing with coworkers and managers, keeping a respectful tone and good posture.

Daily reminders of how you wish to contribute to the world around you can be an excellent way to keep on track. Write down your daily positive affirmations and recite them on your way to work in the mornings.

Related: How to Write a Self-Evaluation (Step Guide and Examples)

Be focused on finding solutions

Consider how certain criticisms can be a valuable opportunity for you to grow. Create sayings for yourself that you can repeat when needed. Use mantras like 'I am resilient,' and 'I accept challenges as a way to improve myself.' This is one way to boost self-esteem and keep yourself focused on achieving your goals. Aim to find a solution rather than give in to pressure.

Try to replace negative thoughts with positive ones

Recognise when any negative thought patterns about yourself arise and replace them with positive affirmations. Identify what these thoughts are, when they occur and what causes you to think of them. Make it a priority to speak kindly to yourself. Remind yourself that you're good enough to accomplish certain challenging tasks. Think about moments when you have successfully achieved your goals and use these positive affirmations to increase your self-belief and self-worth.

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