I have written that Struggle is a good word to describe what is going on in each Chinese heart. One reason this is true is because of low self esteem. The whole country suffers from low self esteem and thus even the Chinese government is super sensitive to criticism.
How do we help people who have low self esteem to bloom?
In 2006, I was tasked, among other jobs, to build an HR department for a consulting and manufacturing holding group. A person with a good resume was recommended to be my assistant. I instead hired a recent college graduate who had read a book on personalities. I hired her on character. Her teachability was high, but she carried naturally low confidence.
I saw the diamond inside this introverted organized person. So I immediately started to give her principles and projects to manage on her own with me only encouraging her to build. 12 months later she had a creative, hard to manage, assistant. 3 months after that the test came.
We were in Beijing and had a project in Wuxi where we needed to hire a whole factory of people over one summer. We needed to recruit and hire 70 people in 90 days for a factory start up. I was busy in Beijing, but considered sending those two young college graduates to Wuxi to work with an American GM who would push them hard. I knew that my diamond could do it, and that she now had confidence to face this task at age 24.
I had carefully handed her my confidence in her by word and in work I gave her, and so she accepted the assignment. She and her assistant filled a new factory with workers in 90 days while living alone in a city they did not know. My job was to continue to build their self esteem throughout. They had the ability as I had trained them, but they lacked the confidence. Everything got done, and they were heroines.
This assignment led to bigger successes for these two over time. The missing ingredients for a young person are teachability, principles to work, and confidence. Our ability to see what they can do and help them stretch, while leaning on our confidence, can take them a long way.