LEADERSHIP RE-IMAGINED Menu Menu

Tips to Help Your Team Overcome Imposter Syndrome

Wednesday, June 22, 2022 - Joe Kiedinger

All month, we’re talking about Imposter Syndrome. If you missed my earlier WOW, Imposter Syndrome is a perceived lack of competency despite success. It’s a psychological phenomenon, rather than a mental condition, when one doubts their skills and achievements even though they have a stellar track record of accomplishments.

The Imposter Syndrome phenomenon was actually identified in the 1970s but has caught real attention lately. It’s no wonder why. In today’s fast-paced, digital society, there’s a new program, app, or skill set to learn around every corner. So, it’s understandable why many people feel behind the times.

As a leader, how can you 1) identify which of your staff members may be struggling with Imposter Syndrome and 2) how do you help pull them out of the weeds?

Identifying Those Who May Need Help

While it’s very common to experience Imposter Syndrome, it’s best to quietly identify and work with your associates who need help rather than opening up their perceived inadequacy to the whole team.

Ask yourself if you’ve seen any of the following behaviors among your team members. Then ask your associates in one-on-ones if they can identify with any of these traits:

  • Downplaying achievements
  • Uncomfortable receiving praise
  • Hesitance to ask for help
  • Slow to take action on new tasks/responsibilities
  • Asking for frequent leader feedback
  • Working to the point of burnout

How to Help Associates Overcome Imposter Syndrome

While the vast majority of us experience symptoms of Imposter Syndrome, very few leaders in the workplace actively help their associates to address this particular challenge. According to a study done by California-based market research technology firm, InnovateMR, less than 5% of employers address Imposter Syndrome with their staff.

Here’s some advice about where to start, courtesy of Business Insider:

  • Foster psychological safety, host open-format discussions on topics related to Imposter Syndrome
  • Lead by example, display and genuinely practice empathy, compassion and understanding to employees and their situations
  • Openly recognize people’s achievements and validate their contributions
  • Provide consistent feedback for employee development
  • Create an inclusive workplace culture by allowing everyone to be heard without interruption, and acknowledging wins as much or more than mistakes

As a leader, you have incredible power to affect change in the lives of your staff members. What small step can you take today to work toward positive change?

JOE KIEDINGER

ACTION PLAN: Watch our social channels for more on Imposter Syndrome. Does it have a secret upside? Stay tuned!

Sometimes, all it takes is a little inspiration.

Understanding where others are coming from is critical in communicating and working toward a common cause.