Passport to Self-Esteem is Easier Than You Might Think

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Contact Kate Larson - 800-736-1293, (Email:

People who feel better about themselves tend to be more productive. Businesses are well-aware of this correlation. When people bring high self-esteem to the workplace, the results are often evident in superior levels of performance. But which comes first? Does a productive workplace create the higher levels of self-esteem? Or does a company that's able to recruit and retain workers with a high sense of self-worth end up being a productive and profitable business?

Research conducted on self-esteem and the workplace shows the following: If an organization is structured in a way that empowers employees to take more initiative, become self-responsible (as in Self-Directed Work Teams), and act in a proactive way (taking the initiative to solve problems, rather than just waiting for management to "fix" things), then in addition to superior performance...employees get a boost of increased self-esteem.

"It's not that businesses shouldn't look for candidates with high self-esteem" says Bob Abramms of ODT Inc., a management consulting firm in Amherst MA. "But if you find those candidates and hire them, and then put them into a department with autocratic management practices or dominating and over- controlling supervisors, then the self-esteem your employees come to you with gets eroded VERY quickly."

What can a company do? Help is available in the form of a U.S. Passport look-alike. The Self-Esteem Passport that doubles as a self-study course in self-esteem, has just been republished. Its contents include sections on "Giving Up Resentments" and "Freedom from Guilt." The Self-Esteem Passport was published by Henry Holt & Company a decade ago and has been used in numerous educational programs within large organizations. "The passport booklet is a 30-page opportunity to feel good about yourself," says Henry Holt spokesperson Greg Hamlin. "Many corporations give them out to employees as a tool -- assisting workers to increase their confidence and self-esteem, which improves many aspects of their lives. Other firms use them as part of management training courses to reinforce the link between the manager's self-esteem and his/her use of effective management practices. They've also been used more recently in Valuing Cultural Diversity training programs as a way to explore prejudices and bias that clearly arise from low self-esteem."

Little is taught about methods to improve one's self-esteem. It's not taught at all in the public schools except on an occasional basis in the past 10 years. It's not taught in colleges unless it's in a special advanced course in Education or Psychology. And even the most progressive corporations only touch on the topic in their employee education or management development courses.

"A lot of unproductive behavior and poor customer service arises from employees with low self-esteem," says Abramms. "Further up the hierarchy the cost to the organization gets even more severe when you have a middle manager or senior executive that needs to hold their own feelings of low self-worth at bay by berating or intimidating the people below them. The whole organization then gets infused with a culture of fear and covering one's butt."

The California Task Force impaneled by Governor George Deukmejian to study self-esteem included a section on "The Workplace & Self-Esteem" in their final report submitted over a decade ago. The report quotes management experts like Tom Peters and Ken Blanchard who talk about the need to foster self-esteem in American corporations. Also cited are General Motors and Rockwell as organizations who have adopted self-esteem enhancing programs for their employees.

Passports are available from ODT, Box 134, Amherst MA 01004. Order from 800-736-1293 or from The cost is $10 (prepaid) including postage. Bulk pricing is available.

Note to Editors: Review copies of the Self-Esteem Passport is available. For interviews on self-esteem and employee empowerment contact Kate Larson at ODT, Inc.: 800-736-1293