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How can self-regard impact your performance?


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Amanda Wildman, leadership development coach, explores the concept of self-regard and how we can develop our own to influence our own performance and drive for success.

  • Emotional intelligence influences your performance and is a huge driver for success
  • There are 16 metrics that leaders can develop to enhance their emotional intelligence. One of these is self-regard, which is critical for developing relationships and influencing others
  • Research shows that 90% of top performers have high emotional intelligence
  • Emotional intelligence is influenced by your attitudes – in particular, your attitude towards yourself

What is self-regard? 

Self-regard is the degree to which you accept and value yourself. How you feel about yourself influences how you behave towards others, and how they respond. If you have low self-regard, you will communicate doubt and uncertainty. This can even extend to areas where you are a subject-matter expert, or issues that you are really passionate about – which leads others to lose trust in your leadership.

It extends to areas where you are a subject-matter expert, or issues that you are really passionate about...​​​​​​

Trust your expertise and passion 
Everybody experiences a range of emotions each day – often positive, occasionally negative! The key is to remain “centred”. In other words, do not allow the negative comments of others, or your own negative thoughts, to divert you from your mission in life. Be happy with the person you are, and the person you will become.
As Eleanor Roosevelt put it, “No-one can make you feel inferior without your permission.”   
Some people are born with a high level of self-regard. Others are helped along by their parents or great mentors. But most of us have to work on it continuously, especially if we suffer any major set-backs in our careers. Positive self-regard is essential if we are to develop the high level of emotional intelligence that will enable us to see beyond these set-backs and stay centred.

 Positive self-regard is essential if we are to develop a high level of emotional intelligence.

A leader who is centred has a balanced self-regard and will accept himself or herself unconditionally, rather than feeling compelled to behave in a certain way in order to please others. Leaders who value and accept themselves are emotionally resilient, have a sense of personal power, are clear about their goals both personally and professionally, and for the most part feel happy with themselves and who they have become. In fact, strong self-regard is also key to valuing the contribution made by colleagues and team members.
I can offer a good role model based on personal experience. When I worked at the BBC as Head of Leadership & Talent, Greg Dyke was often referred to as a man who had his own strong principles and who cared about others. He had one of the most challenging leadership roles in public life, but his strong self-regard, coupled with his respect for others, won many loyal followers.
Positive self-regard is not about being egotistical or arrogant. It is about being clear in your mission and understanding that success depends on a winning personality.    
Five top tips to develop your self-regard

  1. Regularly record and take time to enjoy successes in a variety of areas of your life.

    Action: At the end of each day spend five minutes reflecting on your day. Some questions to consider:
    1. What did I do well?
    2. What feedback did I receive?
  2. Be really clear about what your values and your principles. Trust your emotions and learn to listen to them: for example, when you feel angry or positive, what is happening?

    Action: Spend time reflecting on your core values. These may be honesty, courage, clarity, trust – knowing what your values are and aligning yourself to them plays a key role in building self-regard. There are many online tools that can help but one way to do this is to work with a friend/buddy and describe your perfect day at work. Get them to spot what values they observe in you. What do they hear? They will help you to identify any conflict if your actions are not aligned to your values.
  3. Build a positive but balanced outlook – while critical thinking is important as a leader, negative personal thinking will limit leadership potential. Be aware each day of the negative internal dialogue you are experiencing such as “I’m going to get found out” or “This isn’t good enough”.

     Work with a friend/buddy and describe your perfect day at work. What do they hear?

    Action: Implement a three-second rule – spot the thinking then move on. Don’t allow your mind to dwell on negativity longer than these three seconds. Just be mindful and aware of the chatter you are experiencing and always look for the positive in any perceived failures.  Most of your perceived failures will then turn out to be golden nuggets of wisdom – you just need to re-frame the experience.
  4. Cultivate a “reflective learning attitude” rather than a “perfectionist” attitude. Being able to take risks, try new things and learn from mistakes will build trust and allow others to do the same.

    Action: Step outside of your comfort zone, for example attend a networking event, present a new idea/concept. Be really aware of any limiting beliefs: what feelings arise when you step outside of your comfort zone? Attach a goal to what you are trying to achieve and hold yourself accountable for this achievement. 
  5. Look after your physical health and listen to your body.

    Action: Eat healthily, get enough sleep, exercise and learn relaxation techniques. A key skill in developing positive self-regard is learning to feel the best that you can.

Positive self-regard naturally develops as we become more experienced and confident in ourselves and our capabilities – it is something you need to work on daily, while accepting and valuing yourself for who you are. 

Attach a goal to what you are trying to achieve and hold yourself accountable for this achievement.

Amanda Wildman runs a people development consultancy Emotionally-i-Fit. She works with individuals, teams and leaders to develop emotional intelligence. Previously Amanda worked as Global Head of Learning & Development, Morgan McKinley and Head of Talent & Leadership, BBC.

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