Three Ways to Improve Your Team’s Self-Esteem

By Roscoe Lilly

Did you know that organizations have self-esteem? We often consider the self-esteem of others or our own self-esteem, but rarely do we think that organizations might possess one as well.

Whether it’s a group, team, division, department, company, church, town, or even a country, they all have a way in which they view themselves and that view impacts their self-esteem.

Don’t believe me? Have you ever met someone from Texas? Texans have a collective self-esteem about where they live. They view their state with pride. They even have a saying, “Everything is bigger in Texas!”

One year I decided to coach my daughter’s soccer team, not because I’m good at soccer, but because an e-mail plea went out to parents. The e-mail stated that if more parents didn’t step up to help coach, then their children wouldn’t be able to play. I didn’t mind volunteering because it had been a bucket list item for me to coach one of my children’s sports team. Besides, I was really excited about the opportunity to use a whistle!

If you’ve ever had your child play rec league sports, the skill level is all over the map. Some children are trying the sport for the first time and others play year-round. This discrepancy caused some teams to be stacked with star players and other teams to have kids with potential.

My team was one full of potential. There were only four teams that season and ours was anything but dominant. Before one game, I heard a few discouraged kids say to the head coach: “What’s the point? We know we’re going to lose anyway.”

Our team didn’t have a positive self-esteem.

Think about the groups that you belong to, whether it’s at work, in your community, or your church. How do people within the group view it?

If you are responsible for others as a leader, you should pay close attention to this because once a negative self-view gets established, it’s difficult to break.

What does a positive self-esteem look like?

  • Can-do attitude
  • Belief that anything is possible
  • Willingness to tackle difficult things
  • Closeness toward others
  • Commitment and sacrifice
  • Grit in tough times
  • Excitement about the future
  • Your best days are ahead of you instead of behind you
  • Telling others about your community
  • Wearing the brand (jackets, hats, T-shirts, stickers)
  • Celebration is common
  • Family feel

(Speaking of family … what’s the self-esteem of your family? What do you think is contributing to it? What should you keep/stop doing? This is the most important team you’ll ever have.)

What do you do if your team’s self-esteem isn’t great?


Success builds upon success. The opposite is true as well. Failure builds upon failure and you can’t afford a failure if your team has low self-esteem. What is something small that you know your team can win at? Do it. Celebrate it. Then try something a little bit bigger next time. Success builds upon success. Forget about the Hail Mary pass and focus on taking the ball 10 yards down the field.

The key idea is to reinforce the small win with a big celebration. Your celebration might be the first one in a long time. When you’re trying to turn around a negative self-esteem, no win is too small to celebrate.


I think you owe it to your team to take an honest look at your beliefs about your organization. If you don’t view it positively, the people who look to you for guidance won’t either. Reread the bullet list above and see if it describes the way you think about your team or department. You must start with yourself first. I guarantee your beliefs and views are coming out in subtle ways that infect others. Make sure you’re a contagion of health and positivity.

Are there any ways you might be contributing to the low self-esteem of your team


You can achieve every goal and still have a negative self-esteem as a group. Why? When people are treated like cogs and widgets in a machine, they develop the same feelings for the organization that they have for machines. How do you feel about your lawn mower or refrigerator? I’m guessing you never thought about it because it’s a utilitarian relationship.

The interesting thing is that organizations or companies don’t care for people, it’s people who care for people. When people are shown care by other people in the group, they feel that their organization or company cares about them.

Just this week someone posted this online about the church I lead: “It’s more than just a church; it’s a family with endless love.” I have no idea what specifically prompted this person to feel this way, but I know what caused it. Someone from the church treated that individual like a person, and not merely an attendee, number, or cog. The gesture from our church family will in turn lead  this person to love the entire church, not just those who showed her love on that day.


We all know that the way you talk to yourself, the way you view yourself, and the value you place on yourself affects every part of your life. It’s also true of the organization or group you’re part of.

What can you do to help create a positive self-esteem where you work or worship? Even if you don’t feel like a leader at either place, you still contribute to the collective esteem by just being part of it. Help your team celebrate every win. Monitor your own attitudes and beliefs about the future. Care for those around you. If you do those things, you’ll be a leader anywhere you go and you’ll enjoy your team so much more!

Roscoe Lilly serves as Lead Pastor of NorthStar Church in Albany, New York. This article first appeared on his website, Follow Roscoe on Twitter @RoscoeLilly.

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