Self-regard is one of the 3 subscales of self-perception that we will look at and discuss during this 15-article series of emotional intelligence.

Self-perception describes how we know and manage ourselves.

Self-regard describes a subjective view of how each of us generally values ourselves. Everyone has perceived strengths and weaknesses and self-regard describes one’s attitude towards these. It is ultimately the story we tell too and about ourselves. Do we look for our successes or do we focus on our failures? Someone with high self-regard still tends to like themself, even with their faults and flaws.


Some people seem to be born with higher self-regard, whilst other seem to totally lack it. However, as with all of the emotional intelligence subscales we will discuss, it can be “improved.” That is not to suggest that we should be striving to score higher on any of the subscales or that one should try to avoid the lower ranges. There is a healthy balance that works better for different people in different situations. Sometimes scoring particularly high in an area of EI may actually be a hindrance.

“Wanting to be someone else is a waste of the person you are.” ― Marilyn Monroe

High Range vs Low Range Self-Regard

Someone with high self-regard, will usually be more self-assured and confident. Having a good sense of who they are.

They don’t allow self-criticism and criticism from others to be a major factor in their lives. They often have higher self-esteem. Any received feedback is usually viewed constructively, and they rarely overreact to it. Their stable sense of self is not that easily shaken by other’s comments.

People with high self-regard appreciate themselves irrespective of their perceived strengths and weaknesses. Their focus is usually on their strengths and successes in life.

Essentially, people with high self-regard tend to like who they are.

Someone with low self-regard, may allow their perceived strengths and weaknesses to influence their confidence levels. They may lack self-respect, have low self-esteem and not generally happy with who they are.

When they receive feedback, they are more likely to take it as criticism and take offence. Rather than seeing it as constructive feedback and an opportunity to improve. It may be more difficult to see themselves and their ideas as worthwhile. Which in turn may hinder their success as they take fewer potential opportunities that come their way.

People with low self-regard often struggle with fear of failure, self-doubt and even jealousy. Their focus is often more on their failures than what they could potentially achieve.

Whether people with low self-regard appreciate themselves or not, is often dependent on how others appear to perceive them. So, the opinions of others can have a significant impact on their self-perception. They may also often have challenges with not feeling “good enough.”

Self-regard in the workplace

Whether a team within the workplace is dominated by people with either high or low self-regard, can significantly alter the company culture and outcome.

Team members with high self-regard, will generally work better together to achieve a common goal. Developing a positive and supportive culture. They respond to leadership and team advice positively and non-personally. They understand and appreciate constructive feedback when mistakes are made. Knowing that it is not a reflection of oneself, but just a potential opportunity to improve.

Interactions are based on what is best for the organisation. Personal issues of self-esteem and worth should not interfere with workplace relationships. Inter colleague competition is healthy and can be motivating to achieve greater success.

Teams of individuals with low self-regard could lead to a negative workplace culture. One where personal issues of self-worth can inadvertently interfere with the growth and success of the organisation.

People with low self-regard are more likely to criticize themselves and others. This can lead to a culture based around fear and hostility towards fellow team members. What should be friendly competition in the workplace, may be born out of personal validation and feeling good about themselves. This can demoralise other team members and create animosity. This type of work culture prevents individuals from delivering their best.

It is important to note that it is not all about scoring high in these different subscales. A manager with very high self-regard and low empathy, may think they are better than others. They may not notice or even care how they make their peers feel when they criticise them. Thus, it is about the correct balance in each of the areas of emotional intelligence.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Impact on leadership

Leaders who display a healthy self-regard, work to encourage and praise team members’ best efforts and strengths, while helping them to constructively improve on aspects of their job that they may find difficult.

Leaders who display low self-regard are likely to feel as if they are not worthy of their role. They may doubt their own capabilities. Second guessing whether they are making the right choices. Resulting in lack of self-confidence, further leading the team to feel unsure about their leadership ability and direction.

Other potential problems might be their need to micromanage their team, lack of responsibility if things don’t work out and difficulty bringing out the best in their team. Having low self-regard may also lead to taking out one’s own insecurities on team members.

Some leaders think and feel that their worth comes from their own achievements. However, they often demand unachievable and unrealistic expectations for themselves, against which they judge their results and failures. This creates an unhealthy expectation on themselves, which then filters down into their team.

Impact on productivity

Imagine someone who has low self-regard, low impulse control and low emotional expression. This person may find it very difficult to express their feelings in a constructive way. As they have low self-regard, they are unsure of themselves and lack self-esteem. When a challenging situation comes up and they may come across very abusive and aggressive. Not knowing how to communicate in an effective way with their peers or staff members.

Ultimately, for an organisation to thrive, all staff members should work together effectively as a team. Ideally all individuals will have a healthy self-regard or at least have people to help lift those who struggle with self-regard from time to time. A team that is unsure of themselves, will take it out on each other, get demotivated and generally not be the highest performing team in the organisation.
A team with members that have higher self-regard on the other hand are more likely to work well together and tackle challenging projects with positivity and gusto.

Leaders can and should assist team members with low self-regard to build on this area. Although it is not the scope of this article, this can successfully be achieved in a number of different ways.

Measure and increase emotional intelligence

If you feel that this is an area that you or someone you know may want to work on, then help is at hand.

On completion of the emotional intelligence assessment, we will work together to understand where you may sit on each of the subscales of EI. We can then work with you to increase the specific areas that you feel will have the most immediate and positive impact in your life.

The emotional intelligence assessment is done online and followed up with a face-to-face coaching session, which can be done via Zoom or in person.

Working on one’s EI can lead to significant positive results in all areas of life. Not only making one over all happier, but more effective and approachable

It all starts with a simple yet immensely powerful online assessment.

To find out more about how your organization can benefit, contact us today for a no-obligation conversation.