HR Mavericks

Eddy’s HR Mavericks Encyclopedia

Imposter Syndrome
Have you ever felt that you don’t deserve your job or accomplishments or you don’t have the potential to deserve a particular position? You have a feeling of imposter syndrome. It affects everyone, whether men, women, leaders, etc. Let’s learn about imposter syndrome, also known as imposter phenomenon.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

According to Symonds Research, “Imposter syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that can occur when people doubt their accomplishments or feel like they are frauds. Despite evidence of their success, they feel like they are not good enough or do not deserve the success they have achieved. They feel like an imposter.”

Why Is Imposter Syndrome Harmful?

Imposter syndrome is very harmful both personally and professionally. It can lead to:
  • Less self-confidence. As a person with imposter syndrome starts doubting their abilities, skills, and experience, their confidence lowers.
  • Strained relationships. Imposter syndrome also affects people’s relationships both professionally and personally because they feel insecure working with colleagues. They can become workaholics, which affects their work-life balance and impacts their personal relationships.
  • Poor performance. Imposter syndrome impacts an individual’s performance as they doubt themselves and stop taking new tasks. Sometimes they will begin practicing self-sabotaging behaviors.

Signs of Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace

Everyone suffers from imposter syndrome at some point. It is a psychological pattern where an individual doubts their capabilities. Some signs of imposter syndrome are:
  • Procrastination. When a person suffers from imposter syndrome, they feel like they are a fraud and doubt their abilities. They feel they are not capable of completing tasks so they avoid taking them.
  • Self-doubt. Imposter syndrome causes self-doubt. They start doubting their abilities and capability to handle a task even though they have the necessary skills and experience to accomplish it.
  • Workaholism. A person suffering from imposter syndrome can become a workaholic as they feel they have to prove themselves, leading to burnout and a lack of work-life balance.
  • Anxiety. Imposter syndrome also creates anxiety as the person fears failure. They start worrying about making mistakes or not being able to complete the tasks given to them.
  • Discounting success. An individual starts ignoring their skills and hard work and believes their success is due to luck. They may start attributing success to external factors.

How to Address Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace

Dealing with imposter syndrome is very important, and there are various ways through which imposter syndrome can be addressed and overcome.

Step 1: Promote Positive Self-Talk

A person with imposter syndrome often talks negatively about themselves. To overcome this, it is very important to replace negative talk with positive talk. An employee can talk about positive things about their work, skills and experience. Starting to talk positively creates self-confidence, and this will help address the imposter syndrome.

Step 2: Provide Employees With Support and Resources

If a person is suffering from imposter syndrome in the workplace, management should address it in a positive way to guide and help the employee overcome it. Recognizing and acknowledging the imposter syndrome helps people understand that their thoughts and feelings are not unusual and everyone suffers from it at one time. Counseling services at the workplace also are a great help to overcome this behavior. Employees should be given feedback, and their work should be recognized, which can boost their self-confidence.

Step 3: Diversity and Inclusion

There should be diversity and inclusion at the workplace. With a diversified workplace or culture, everyone will feel more involved, accepted and valued, and this in turn helps them to overcome self-doubt.

Best Practices for Preventing Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace

There are many ways we can prevent imposter syndrome. Here are some of the best practices you can employ in your workplace:

Build a Supportive Company Culture

Creating a supportive company culture helps employees feel more accepted and valued. This supportive work culture can reduce feelings of self-doubt and increase self-confidence in an individual.

Provide Regular Feedback and Recognition

Providing regular feedback and recognition also plays an important role in preventing imposter syndrome in the workplace. When someone’s work is recognized or feedback is provided, they feel appreciated, and that creates positive feelings. They have the motivation to talk positively about themselves and their self-confidence increases.

Promote Professional and Career Development Opportunities

Promoting professional and career development opportunities creates a growth mindset. When a company emphasizes growth and development, employees view tasks as an opportunity for growth and progress rather than failure.

Make Sure Everyone Is Treated Fairly

It is very important for everyone that company culture should be free from biases and stereotypes. Everyone should be treated fairly. When everyone is treated fairly, people suffering from imposter syndrome feel like their fears and doubts are not uncommon.
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Pammi Rani

Pammi Rani

Pammi is a Human Resource Professional with around eight years experience. Pammi specializes in Human Resource field and responsible for all aspects of the HR, i.e. recruiting, employees relations, wage claims, training etc. Pammi has a very positive attitude and tireless energy, which makes her a great employee at her workplace. Pammi is inspired daily by her husband and a cute little boy. In her free time Pammi likes reading books and running.
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