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What is Impostor Syndrome

What Is Impostor Syndrome?

Have you ever...

Believed deeply that you weren’t qualified enough for your role?
Feared that others would find out you’re a fraud?
Asked yourself, “Who am I to…?”

If so, you’ve experienced impostor syndrome — the tendency to doubt ourselves and our capabilities, despite all evidence to the contrary – and its crippling effects. While roughly 70% of the population will experience this at one time or another, many of us believe we’re the only ones who feel this way.


Who Struggles with Impostor Syndrome?

While people of all backgrounds have the potential to struggle with impostor syndrome, the following are more likely to experience it:

  • High achievers

  • Women in male-dominated fields

  • Members of under-represented groups

  • First-time managers

  • Professionals with non-linear or non-traditional career paths

  • Professionals in highly competitive or rigorous fields

  • People who struggle with anxiety

  • Anyone making a transition

What Does Impostor Syndrome Look Like?

  • Fear that others will find out you’re not as competent as they think you are

  • Hesitation to speak up for fear of sounding foolish or being judged

  • Perfectionism and micromanagement

  • Reluctance to take risks or challenge the status quo

  • Overall tendency to play small and not rock the boat

How Does Impostor Syndrome Hurt Organizations?

  • Decreased creativity and innovation lead to conformity and mediocrity

  • Business risk increases as professionals hesitate to challenge problems or propose changes

  • Lack of psychological safety undermines diversity and inclusion efforts

  • Increased anxiety and stress result in greater burnout among employees

  • Untapped potential among impostor syndrome sufferers challenges succession planning and talent management initiatives

Impostor syndrome is painful and disruptive, but you can learn to manage it!

What Can You Do About It?

Schedule a strategy session to learn how coaching can help you build your confidence and overcome self-doubt.

Listen to the podcast for stories of successful professionals who have learned to manage impostor syndrome.

Join the free Leading Humans discussion group! Every Thursday at 12pm ET, professionals of diverse backgrounds come together to discuss common questions/challenges related to navigating the human experience in the workplace.

The Impostor Syndrome Files

Listen Now!

Listen to the podcast for stories of successful professionals who have learned to manage impostor syndrome.

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