Ever feel like an impostor? You’re not alone. Most people feel unworthy of their success at some point in their careers. Yet, it’s especially harmful to leaders. It impacts everything from employee morale to time management. Luckily, anyone can learn to beat imposter syndrome.
According to an article published in the Harvard Business Review, imposter syndrome is a common problem for C-suite professionals. Managers and leaders often doubt their abilities and self-worth. Manfred FR Kets de Vries, the author of the article, explains that feelings of self-doubt are less pressing when they come from someone lower on the totem pole. However, when you reach a position with more responsibilities, your insecurities become more visible.
Fortunately, the article provides three solutions for overcoming the uncertainty associated with imposter syndrome. First, you should strategise vulnerability. This means that you should be willing to fail. Your vulnerability should be open for others to see, as it helps humanise you. The author also recommends greater transparency and open communication among team members.
The second solution is to promote problem-solving. Encouraging others to solve problems reduces your burden and stress. It’s a form of delegation, which also shows that you believe in the skills and abilities of your staff. This reinforces their confidence, which helps keep imposter syndrome from spreading to your team.
The third solution is to make questions more commonplace. Ask questions and invite others to ask questions. Questions encourage an environment of learning. You should accept that you don’t have the answers to everything. Be prepared to ask others for help when there is a gap in your knowledge. According to the article, leaders can also use these techniques to address imposter syndrome among their team members.
Imposter syndrome is a drain on your self-esteem and confidence. As explained in the article, vulnerability can help leaders feel less as if they are imposters. However, I also find that high achievers struggle to be vulnerable. You don’t want to be perceived as a failure, which comes from a place of fear.
Recognising that you cannot control what others think is a good first step in dealing with fear. You should also take the time to list your positive abilities and traits. You can use them as anchors to remind yourself of your worth when you feel as if you are an imposter.
Over 70% of people experience feelings of inadequacy. When these feelings occur in the workplace, you may start to think of yourself as an imposter. As the author of Beat Imposter Syndrome, I can help. Find out about my one-to-one coaching and online courses at https://thinklearnsucceed.com.au.