Self-esteem can be defined as feelings of self-worth or self-approval. The concept is closely linked to moods or motivation in individuals. Persons with high self-esteem are often cheerful, optimistic, and show high enthusiasm levels. On the other hand, those with low self-esteem may show feelings of doubt about self-worth, sadness, low motivation, and low moods. This paper will examine the ways in which people may react to open expressions of self-esteem in the context of organizations.
Self-esteem, self-aggrandizement, self-deprecation.
The feeling that result from self-appraisal determine behavior in two main ways – either in a positive or negative way. Self-esteem is critical in determining the motivation level of individuals; the driving force that shapes peoples’ actions. Nonetheless, open expressions of self-esteem may not be taken the same across different societies.
Such open expressions of self-esteem may not be taken positively by my colleagues. This is because boasting about one’s skills and how best one is would be taken as arrogance or self-aggrandizement. It is important to make others feel comfortable in the organization. Thus, no employee should feel or boast that he/she is better than others, regardless of whether he is actually better in some way. The organization maintains a culture of confidence and humility, rather than that of arrogance. The opposite of self-aggrandizement is self-deprecation which refers to own self-criticism (Johnson et al., 2010). Self-deprecation results from feelings of guilt. Often, the individual involved criticizes the self in a number of ways. The communication almost always involves making negative remarks about self, an indication of low self-esteem. In such a situation, the employee involved could be having low motivation.
Self-deprecation involves undervaluing oneself. There are a number of components involved in self-deprecation. First, the individuals involved in this type of behavior had negative early childhood experiences (Johnson et al., 2010). These could result from the failure to achieve high expectations set by the parents and the constant nudge to become a high achiever. Second, such individuals exhibit a constant sense of insecurity. This may be partly be the result of early negative experiences. Fear may lead to major internal conflicts among the individual involved. Third, they harbor various misconceptions regarding the nature of self and others. Misconceptions involved feelings of inadequacy or unworthiness. Fourth, they have a dysfunctional strategy with regards to protecting the self. A dysfunctional strategy entails coming up with coping mechanisms to mask the real or imagined inadequacies. As such, self-deprecation may not be good for any employee in the organization (Morris, Brotheridge, & Urbanski, 2005). The employees at the organization expect a show of confidence and humility, even though one is quite successful the role he/she plays.
Self-aggrandizement can be discomforting to other employees in my organization. This may be so especially when arrogant employees occupy positions of higher authority. Although they could be good at what they do, other employees may still find the behavior discomforting. Employees who exude arrogance may not be suitable for higher positions in the organization (Keith & Frese, 2008). This is because they may tend to disregard the opinion of others since they harbor a strong belief that they are the best. The top management at the organization encourages participative leadership style. This is whereby the input of all team members is taken into consideration during the decision making process. Nonetheless, the participative leader makes the final decision. An employee having strong opinion of self may ignore the input of others and feel that he/she is entitled to make all decisions. Since the management practices a participative leadership style, the contribution of even the non-performing employees is considered important.
The statement would infuriate colleagues since majority of them would consider it as workplace arrogance. Over the recent period, the concept of workplace arrogance has gained popularity among researchers. According to Johnson et al., (2010), workplace arrogance may be counterproductive to organizations that tolerate the behavior among employees. Proclaiming that one is the best cloud computing specialist will also be taken as a show of superiority and an exaggerated sense of entitlement. This may trigger negativity feelings among the colleagues. Employees having an exaggerated sense of superiority may undermine their superiors. It may be difficult for such employees to listen to their superiors since they have a false sense of belief that they are right all the time, even when they could be wrong. This may cause leadership problems in the organization. Arrogant employees will always consider their behavior as right, and those of others especially those who have divergent opinions as wrong.
Although some may regard the statement as an expression of confidence, self-aggrandizement is clearly evident from the statement. The statement borders personality traits such as narcissism and hubris. Narcissism refers to self-love. This is where an individual exudes hallucinations of self-grandeur and tends to admire self while alone. Hubris involves false confidence whereby the person involved is more proud of personal successes or attributes (Johnson & Saboe, 2011). The person involved may not be contentious towards others. Arrogance is more connected to disparaging others. As much as it may be a fact that I am the best cloud computing specialist in the company, saying the statement will only be considered as pure arrogance directed at others who are not good enough.
The cultural expectations from people in the country is not much different from what my colleagues expect at the organization. Although one is expected to exude confidence, arrogant behavior is discouraged. Confidence is simply a factual reality that a person harbors out of past experiences. On the other hand, arrogance involves exaggerated behavior that has the potential to make others feel as if they are inferior (Johnson & Saboe, 2011). Making the statement may also trigger unwarranted and unhealthy competition from other colleagues as they try to prove they are better. It is possible that other colleagues may feel much inferior and in the process engage in acts that try to prove they are the best. This may lead to cut-throat competition where the employees employ all manner of tactics to be labeled the best. Praise and recognition should come from the management or from other colleagues. The management is responsible for recognizing or rewarding employees who show exemplar performance in their work.
Employees in the organization should not go beyond the personal humility and confidence level. Humility involves the ability to recognize the self in an accurate manner that does not cause harm or feelings of inferiority to others. Individuals who exude humility and confidence will be more open to other people’s ideas and be willing to listen to their opinions. The statement would cause my colleagues to react in a negative manner since they are not used to self-aggrandizement.
Johnson, R. E., & Saboe, K. 2011. Measuring implicit traits in organizational research: Development of an indirect measure of employee implicit self-concept. Organizational Research Methods, 14, 530–547.
Johnson, R. E., Silverman, S. B., Shymsunder, A., Swee, H., Rodopman, O. B., Bauer, J., & Chao, E. 2010. Acting superior but actually inferior?: Correlates and consequences of workplace arrogance. Human Performance, 23, 403–427.
Keith, N., & Frese, M. 2008. Effectiveness of error management training: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 93, 59–69.
Morris, J. A., Brotheridge, C. M., & Urbanski, J. C. 2005. Bringing humility to leadership: Antecedents and consequences of leader humility. Human Relations, 58, 1323–1350
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