How to Overcome Imposter Syndrome as a Manager
You might be surprised to learn that very successful people often feel a little fraudulent.
There’s an uncharacteristic lack of confidence hidden away that we don’t get to see.
A manager or leader feels they have been lucky or don’t quite deserve the success they’ve achieved.
This can happened despite years of hard work and endeavour to get where they are.
If you’re a manager or leader and this sounds like you, you’re not alone. There’s even a name for it.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
More often than we realise, successful managers feel like they’re the weak link in the organisation and that they don’t deserve all the plaudits.
They live in fear that one day their fraudulent behaviour will be revealed for all to see.
This is a common problem called imposter syndrome and can strike at any time.
You may find it when a manager or leader starts a new job or gets an award, is promoted or succeeds at something in the business.
While they sometimes get over this inner sense of fraud by putting in more work, it is often the case that managers will take their foot off the gas and look to be a lot less ambitious.
You’ll be surprised at the number of well-known celebrities and entrepreneurs that have suffered from imposter syndrome.
You can call it self-doubt or personal sabotage but it can have lasting effects on your career if you don’t learn to dispel the myth that you’re just not good enough.
How Do You Overcome it?
The first thing you need to do is acknowledge that you are suffering from imposter syndrome in the first place.
It can take someone else to do that for you but you’ll undoubtedly know that something is not quite right in the first place.
It helps to keep a journal and list your feelings and what led to them.
Putting things in writing can assist in seeing the truth more clearly.
One method of overcoming imposter syndrome is cognitive restructuring. This is about taking negative feelings and giving them a more positive spin.
It’s not always easy to do this without at least some help from outside.
Talking It Through
The reason why many top performing managers and leaders have a mentor or coach is that it’s someone independent to talk things through with.
If you’re in a large corporation and working your way up the management ladder, you’ll probably have a mentor you can work with.
If you are more isolated, it helps to find a coach you can trust and talk your problem through with.
Imposter syndrome is, unfortunately, a self-fulfilling prophecy and the more you try to ignore it, the worse it can get.
Taking a closer look at your strengths and weaknesses with a mentor is one way to really nail down that you are not the fraud that you think you are.
We all have good and bad points and understanding them can make us more confident and aware.
It could be that you are a perfectionist – many managers with imposter syndrome are.
The truth is that there’s no such thing as perfection.
Again, talking through your issues with your mentor should help you be more realistic about what is achievable and what is important.
Those with imposter syndrome are generally slow to own their successes. They don’t like to be complimented and feel a little embarrassed.
On the other side, they can be only too willing to accept responsibility for their failures.
Key to ridding yourself of imposter syndrome is breaking this sort of cycle, creating a more positive outlook when it comes to both your successes and failures.
Talking to others is integral to this as is taking ownership of the good things and the bad that happen in your life and in business.
What you do need to do is take action.
If you think you are suffering from imposter syndrome, it’s important that you start talking to your mentor or coach and begin putting your life back into a better balance.