I'm trying to express the idea of someone who consistently underestimates his own contributions or his ability to impact a situation, despite having high self esteem. This is due to seeing themselves as currently fitting into a category of people that are not expected to be impactful in a situation, and thus they don't believe they should be impactful despite their actually being qualified to have an impact.
In essences it's like someone saying they are just an intern so they can't/didn't have a significant impact on a project because everyone knows interns are just there to learn not create something, or someone saying they couldn't/didn't help lead the direction of a project because they weren't a manager and only the manager is allowed to do that etc.
I struggle to best explain this concept, while stressing that the underestimation is not due to bad self esteem or negativity, simply the fact that he does not believe he should be impactful and thus underestimates any impact he could have.
In this situation would it be right to say that the individual is denying their agency? Or perhaps does not acknowledge their agency, in the situation? I'm not certain if it is right to say someone can be 'given' agency, or if agency is the intrinsic quality that the person has rather or not he acknowledges its existence?
If the phrase isn't right, is there a better phrase to use?