Self-worth or self-esteem is the value that we attribute to ourselves. It’s our perception of who we are, which, of course, can differ greatly from how other people view us. Everyone forms certain beliefs about themselves as they grow up. These beliefs underlie much of the confidence that we pull from as we take on various leadership roles throughout our lives.
Self-worth is not about narcissism, ego, or arrogance. In fact, these unfortunate qualities always catch up with a leader and lead to his or her downfall. A known recipe for disaster, these characteristics are not only harmful to the individual, but usually have disastrous consequences for society — along the lines of Enron, the financial markets crisis and other societal disasters of the past, present, and in-the-making.
Self-worth is what we believe about our self. It’s our inner signal about how we value who we are, what we think, believe, say and do. It’s our personal, internal grounding center. While we all care about what others think of us, even if we say we don’t, what we think about ourselves is vastly more important than what anyone else will ever think. Remember, what other people think of you is their issue – not yours. Your responsibility is to yourself and to being the best person you can be.
Those who aspire and achieve positions of leadership typically possess high self-worth which reflects in everything from how they get along with others, to their demonstrated confidence and level of personal responsibility. They’re humble, yet strong.
Just like anything else, if you don’t possess the level of self-worth you desire, you can develop it. Regularly reflect on your personal qualities –the good and the bad. Accept that you’ve made mistakes and that you’ll continue to make them throughout life and that it’s okay. Mature people will forgive you. The challenge is that you need to learn how to forgive yourself.
Feel good about the contributions that you’ve made and the lives that you’ve influenced or changed. Reflect on the personal growth you’ve made and the positive, forwarding actions you’ve taken to become a better person.
Check your ego at the door because it will only serve to attract animosity, disdain, conflict and discord. And, finally, don’t take responsibility for what others want to say about you or do to you. Let others live their own life. You’re here to focus on your own so that you can be the best leader – whether as the head of company or family, or even as the CEO of your own life.
And, finally, surround yourself with others of high self-worth. Birds of a feather flock together. Learn from the best. Allow yourself to be mentored and pass it along by mentoring others. When you value yourself, you can truly value others. It all starts with you – your personal self-worth.
“It is the job of a leader to bring out the magnificence in people and to create an environment where they feel safe, supported, and ready to do the best job possible.”
— Ken Blanchard
Tara Kachaturoff is the creator, producer and host of Michigan Entrepreneur TV, a weekly television talk show featuring business leaders and businesses from start-up to stellar. With over 15 years of experience in corporate finance in the tech sector, she now coaches executives, business professionals, and entrepreneurs on leadership, management, productivity, and marketing issues. Tara is also the author of 21 Qualities of a Leader from which this article is excerpted.