In an ideal world, all of your employees come into work excited and confident about sharing their skills, abilities, and ideas. But in reality, imposter syndrome may be preventing even the most talented employees from experiencing that confidence, which limits both their potential and the organization’s.
Imposter syndrome makes someone feel like they don’t belong in their role. It can negatively affect employees and your entire workplace. Let’s take a closer look at imposter syndrome and how to tackle it in your organization.
What is imposter syndrome?
Imposter syndrome occurs when a person feels incompetent or unconfident at work despite their successes. They often feel like a fraud and are worried others will “find out.”
What are signs of imposter syndrome?
While imposter syndrome can show up differently for everyone, there are some common characteristics that employers should look out for. An employee with imposter syndrome may:
- Attribute their success to luck instead of hard work;
- Have feelings of doubt regarding their skills and abilities;
- Feel undeserving of praise; and
- Question whether they belong in their role.
What is the impact of imposter syndrome?
Your organization might be bursting with talent, but it can be difficult to harness that talent when feelings of doubt get in the way.
Imposter syndrome can make someone feel like they don’t belong, which can prevent them from sharing their ideas and even pursuing advancement opportunities. When employees hold themselves back like this, it can hurt your entire organization and slow your progress towards innovation and improvements.
Who is most likely to be affected by imposter syndrome?
Anyone can be affected by imposter syndrome, but there are certain groups that are more susceptible. Internal feelings of inadequacy can be fueled by feeling like you don’t belong in the workplace. As a result, systemically disadvantaged groups are more likely to experience imposter syndrome. Studies show that women experience imposter syndrome at higher rates than men, with rates highest among Black and Latina women.
How can I help my team overcome imposter syndrome?
Diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) initiatives are key to tackling imposter syndrome in the workplace. The goal of DEIB initiatives is to foster a diverse and fair workplace where everyone is valued. In turn, this helps people feel included and like they deserve to be there, which can help reduce feelings of imposter syndrome.
HR professionals play an important role in creating a workplace environment where everyone feels accepted. To support your team, here are four steps you can take to address imposter syndrome:
- Determine the prevalence of imposter syndrome.
- Evaluate current DEIB initiatives.
- Ensure equal representation.
- Foster a psychologically safe work environment.
To learn more about each of these steps, download our Guide to Tackling Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace. Our FREE guide includes expert tips and best practices to help you reduce imposter syndrome and foster an inclusive workplace for all.