What Do Your Employees Think of Themselves?

Here on the AIM Careerlink blog, we talk quite a bit about the importance of employee recognition and how much it can boost employee satisfaction.

Giving credit where credit is due is an important part of distinguishing your best employees for all of the hard work they do. But believe or not, some of your employees might not actually think that they’re the best (or even that they’re good at all).

According to a recent article on Psyblog, a blog that “covers psychological studies that are relevant to everyday life,” psychologist and founder, Dr. Jeremy Dean, discusses what he calls the “worst-than-average effect”.

Opposite of the Dunning-Kruger effect, the worst-than-average effect occurs when we assume that others posses the same skills we do when in fact, quite the opposite is true. In turn, we underestimate our ability at doing certain tasks compared to others, despite doing exceptionally well, if not better, at those tasks than most.

Apply this idea to the work environment, and, as TLNT contributor Derek Irvine points out, “It’s quite possible that your top performers are so good, they don’t realize just how good they are.”

In a work environment, this can lead you into some trouble. Not only does it lower employee satisfaction among those who are especially hard workers, it may lead others to believe that the exceptionally hard work these people put in to the company is just average—so why push themselves any more than they already do?

Another thing to consider is how you are going to retain your top talent if they don’t realize that what they do matters to the company. What we wouldn’t suggest is skirting the issue, which will definitely put you at risk of losing top talent if they think they can do better at another company.

Fortunately, it can be pretty easy to solve a problem like this. Simply put, make an effort to recognize your employees, especially the ones who are doing a stellar job. As a leader, you need to give your team support, and that means showing them how important they are to the company, and how what they do makes a huge impact.

While arrogance isn’t something we approve of, we do admire when employees are able to give themselves a nice pat on the back for all the hard work they’ve done. One way to ensure that they know why they’re so great is by recognizing them, so take a moment and let them know. A little positive reinforcement never hurt.