What it is about is turning our doubts (the ones that always occur to us) into something positive
Plus, imposter syndrome doesn’t have to cripple your career. We are going to try to analyze what needs to be done so that you do not get caught up in it.
If you often feel underqualified and full of doubts at work, you may have imposter syndrome.
Impostor syndrome creates doubt
It causes an individual to question her abilities and belittle her potential and her achievements. Not only does it cost the individual in terms of psychological effects, but it also costs the organization in terms of productivity.
How to deal with impostor syndrome
Today’s fast-paced business environment has created a competitive culture in which middle managers and managers are often required to demonstrate their problem-solving skills and knowledge. Being promoted to the managerial level requires individuals to take responsibility for managing, supervising, training, and mentoring their team. For many people, this is a huge leap that can create a series of doubts about their leadership skills and abilities.
Feeling that you do not deserve a certain promotion
They feel like maybe they don’t deserve the promotion, or maybe they’ll make a mistake and everyone will find out they’re not really that smart.
Doubt is a recurring theme in most organizations. A study reveals that 50% of female and 31% of male managers experience self-doubt on a regular basis. These self-doubts are what psychologists call impostor syndrome and some studies have found that up to 70% of people experience it at some point.
It can also suffer in senior management
And it’s not just managers who suffer from these doubts: CEOs and senior management executives can also suffer from impostor syndrome.
This syndrome is a mental self-torment in which an individual questions his achievements and attributes them to luck. Victims live in fear of being found out to be a fraud or not competent enough.
It creates doubts that cause an individual to question her abilities and belittle her potential and her achievements. We not only have to see it as a cost for the person who suffers it, since this cost is also transferred to the entire organization in terms of productivity, to the extent that said person does not address the root of their problem.
Negative effect on job performance
Self-doubt as a result of imposter syndrome has a negative effect on job performance, and studies associate the following negative outcomes with it:
– Lack of motivation.
– Difficulty making decisions.
– Low self-esteem.
– Emotional instability.
Why might middle managers and other managers develop this syndrome?
Many managers may believe that they are less qualified than their colleagues. This constant thought is what can affect the completion of any work in progress, and the fulfillment of the objectives that had been set in the organization can also be affected. Research also suggests that comparison breeds self-criticism, and self-criticism is what leads to fear, procrastination, and low productivity at work.
Research shows that while perfectionism has its advantages, it also has many disadvantages.
That is why many people develop anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, chronic headaches, and depression. It is the main reason why many people find it difficult to achieve their work goals and why so many people experience burnout at work.
People with perfectionism syndrome have a hard time making decisions because they fear making mistakes and being perceived as incompetent.
The need for external validation
The need to be appreciated and approved by top management is a problem faced by most managers and has been shown to have a negative effect on job performance. Seeking approval is what leads to perfectionism syndrome. Seeking external validation increases anxiety and makes a manager more susceptible to acting normal, even when they have no idea how to go about their daily tasks. This attitude can be dangerous for productivity.
Unhealthy work environment
An environment that does not support growth but focuses more on performance and achievement can cause a lot of anxiety and affect productivity at work. Unsanitary work environments easily fuel impostor syndrome and the need to overcompensate. It also leads to poor performance and a drop in morale, which sinks a person.
How to overcome impostor syndrome
The first step to overcoming impostor syndrome is acceptance and awareness because you can’t solve what you don’t understand. Become aware of how you feel about yourself, your work environment, attitudes and how you perceive achievements. Through this process, you come to understand yourself more and recognize if you feel like an impostor.
The following are other ways you can deal with imposter syndrome in positions of responsibility
1º) Control your thoughts
The mind has a way of exaggerating the little things. For example, maybe you have failed at something in the past or experienced failure. This past experience can haunt you even in the present moment, making you overly aware of yourself and how people perceive you. Not only is it bad for your mental well-being, but it can also inhibit growth and productivity at work.
Become aware of your negative thoughts, and you must question them to understand their validity and rationality. In most cases, you will discover that your thoughts are irrational and have nothing to do with your grades and ability.
2º) You must own your achievements
One of the symptoms of impostor syndrome is denying your own achievements that you have achieved. And the best way to manage the feeling of imposter syndrome is to own your accomplishments, to acknowledge the fact that your accomplished goals were the result of hard work and not just luck. You should celebrate all the victories in your career, both big and small.
3º) You must discard the thought of perfection
The best way to deal with imposter syndrome as a middle manager and/or manager is to develop a growth mindset rather than perfectionism. A growth mindset ensures that you accept your vulnerabilities and seek to improve rather than pretend to be perfect.
Most executives who struggle with impostor syndrome due to perfectionism don’t understand that today’s perfection is tomorrow’s flaws. The world is constantly changing and each day comes with new challenges. The only way to progress and meet challenges revolves around having a growth mindset.
4º) You must redefine failure as a learning opportunity
Instead of being afraid of making mistakes and taking on challenges at the office because you don’t want to make a mistake or fail, you should reframe failure and mistakes as a learning opportunity. Recognize the fact that no success lasts without failure: it is mistakes and failures that create new opportunities that make you wiser and smarter. Failure has only one explanation: show that you dare and get out of your comfort zone.
5º) You must establish realistic goals
Having unrealistic goals for yourself and your job can put a lot of pressure on you and also make you feel bad when you don’t achieve them. Having an unrealistic goal sets you up for failure and can destroy your self-esteem. On the other hand, when you set realistic goals for yourself, you set yourself up for success and boost your self-esteem and confidence. Therefore, you should make sure that you praise yourself for each milestone that you achieve in your goals and career.
6º) You must avoid self-criticism
Being your own critic not only affects your job performance, but also destroys your self-esteem. Examples of self-criticism include “I’m a failure,” “I’m not that smart,” “I’m not good enough,” or “How could I be stupid enough to make that kind of mistake?” These negative thoughts create a mental block and prevent you from seeing something good in yourself.
A study shows that self-criticism can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Always be aware when criticizing yourself, understand that mistakes are a necessary part of life and have no correlation to how smart or smart you are.
You should give yourself some space and put in your mind the expression that you are doing the best you can, so don’t jeopardize your effort with negative self-talk.
7º) You must seek help
One of the best ways to deal with impostor syndrome is for executives to seek professional help. A coach or mentor can be a great place to start.
A coach is someone who can work with you to help you break any limiting beliefs you may have about yourself and help you see beyond your self-imposed limitations.
A mentor is someone who has walked the same path and understands what it feels like to be in the same position. They can provide helpful advice and tips on how to deal with imposter syndrome.
A first conclusion
Although impostor syndrome is not a life-threatening mental condition, it can be debilitating and inhibit growth and productivity. The role of an executive is quite delicate in all organizations and requires people who are confident in themselves and their abilities.
Therefore, it is advisable to seek help if you feel that imposter syndrome is impeding your productivity.
Overcoming imposter syndrome as a first-time manager
There are always elements that we must incorporate into our way of doing things (methodology) in addition to knowledge and training. What is part of the wisdom of people in their workplace. We are talking about conventional wisdom, which should be at your service and not against you, that is, sometimes it is better to ignore certain issues, such as that widely used cliché that leading a team is something very difficult. What, without a doubt, puts back many candidates who, being valid, will not finally dare to coordinate and/or supervise the team in which they have been integrated for months.
And if leading a team isn’t easy, it’s not impossible either, because once you see which team you should lead, think of a remote one that can become even more difficult.
Therefore, you must forget about your fears, consult your bosses, or in the event that you are exercising that intermediate command as a person in charge, consult management. There are always internal protocols, manuals that organizations make available and are online, so you will be in a way of doing and sharing leadership that is distributed throughout the organizational chart.
There’s a remote guide to managing, plus a full set of strategies for everything from communicating effectively to building a leadership team.
The reaction when a promotion arrives
A person working as an account representative at a high-growth tech startup, when promoted to lead a small team, found himself in the position of overnight going from individual contributor to coach and mentor, managing people whose work was doing the day before.
No doubt fear gripped his body, as he was sure that at any moment his team would realize he had no idea what he was doing, or that his boss would realize she had made a big mistake. mistake in naming him team leader. And this situation can be repeated in thousands of cases and in tens of thousands of companies. That unsettling feeling that you’ll be “found out” at any moment probably sounds familiar to you.
History of impostor syndrome
Impostor Syndrome was first referred to as the “Impostor Phenomenon” in the 1970s by Suzanne Imes, and Pauline Rose Clance. These two psychologists investigated the self-confidence that professional women had in themselves and they were the ones who coined the term.
Through their research, they discovered that many of these high-achieving women lacked an internal recognition of their success, often sharing a similar self-defeating frame of mind. Although Clance and Imes focused their research on women, many career counselors and coaches today agree that affliction affects men almost as much as women.
“People who suffer from impostor syndrome start to develop a series of cognitive distortions in their head,” says Anamaria Nino-Murcia, a Silicon Valley leadership coach. She is able to recognize patterns simply based on the types of words her customers use.
It is surprising what he points out regarding what this type of people affected by the syndrome express, such as: “In general, they deflect responsibility for their successes with justifications such as: “I was just lucky”, or also the expression “It was a chance” or “That wasn’t really my fault.”
Today, impostor syndrome describes the mental self-torment of someone who struggles to internalize their own achievements, leading to feelings of inadequacy, doubt, or fraud. While not technically recognized as a “syndrome” by medical standards, it’s all too real for professionals in all fields, from CEOs to recent college graduates.
When starting a new venture
In her research, Dr. Imes points out that this phenomenon appears more frequently among people who are starting a new venture. It is therefore not surprising that many first-time managers fall prey to this mental warfare, doubting their own leadership abilities and managerial skill set.
To make matters worse, some of the most common management advice out there—seek constructive criticism, decline to pursue credit, accept vulnerability—seems intentionally designed to undermine your fledgling confidence.
Things to ignore and things to keep in mind
Here are four pieces of conventional managerial wisdom that you’re better off ignoring as a first-time manager, since sometimes vulnerability isn’t the best policy. As a new manager, you obsessively read about management strategy, organizational behavior, and effective leadership tactics.
Gone are the days of the strong leader who never shows weakness: being a good manager is now more often understood as showing vulnerability and putting your whole being into the job. With those guiding principles, you have to develop a strategy to create an open, connected and productive team.
But in the well-intentioned quest to build strong relationships with true, unsweetened reporting—that is, being an honest and relatable (read: vulnerable and transparent) middle manager—often ends up oversharing.
It’s the case of a boss who told his team about his challenges, his annoying inner critic, and his fight against impostor syndrome. He hoped that this level of authenticity would build trust in his team and, as a result, they would feel they could be more honest with him. And it was a rookie mistake.
“As a general rule, showing vulnerability and humanity is powerful because it creates connection,” says Nino-Murcia. “However, there is an important caveat. If you display vulnerability in the exact core competency that people expect of you, you actually tend to be more unsettling to those around you.”
The doubt that is not forgiven
It turns out that the benefits of vulnerability are sidelined when your team hears that you doubt your own management skills. In other words, of which you are not supposed to doubt. More often than not, your team needs someone who can inspire confidence, show composure and consistency, and lead by example. While there is still plenty of room to show empathy, own up to your mistakes, and develop an open and approachable management style, expressing doubt about your abilities as a manager is not an effective strategy.
Gather trust and find external support
Instead, you need to build trust where you can for your team and also find outside support to combat those feelings of fraud.
Build a network of people
To listen to your challenges and encourage you in this new phase of your career, Wendy Saccuzzo, a San Francisco Bay Area career coach and counselor who specializes in helping people through career transitions, emphasizes the importance of “finding your group” stating that “a big part of successfully making any career transition is having a strong support system,” says Saccuzzo, “whether it’s an actual career coach, a mentor or a support group.”
Your mentor should be someone you trust who can provide both positive and constructive feedback. In addition to working with a mentor, Ella Saccuzzo suggests taking advantage of a peer group to help you stay positive. Whether it’s a group of colleagues within your own company, a networking group of like-minded professionals, a local alumni branch, or a tight group of close friends, finding your people is all about it.
You just want to make sure that when you do meet, you avoid self-deprecation and complaining. They should use this space to encourage each other to talk about what’s going well and recent successes, as well as seek advice on your challenges.
Recognize the “I” as a team
“There is no ‘me’ on the team.” It’s a catchy motto that’s ingrained in us from a young age and persists well into adulthood. In today’s work culture, employees are conditioned to avoid the personal pronoun “I” when celebrating successes.
Hence the importance of expressions such as: “it was a true team effort”, or also “we collaborated to make it happen”, or “we did it together”.
The culture of shared success has become so ubiquitous that many of us feel uncomfortable taking credit for our own achievements for fear of appearing boastful, impolite, or out of touch. To make matters worse, this sentiment can fester and intensify as new managers fear taking credit for the success of their reports.
When you don’t have a concrete sense about your individual behaviors
The problem with this cycle, Nino-Murcia points out, is that when you don’t have a concrete sense of how your individual behaviors generate certain results, you can’t learn from either your failures or your successes, and for the record, the latter is just as important. like the first. New managers experiencing imposter syndrome, for example, may have a hard time articulating why they were promoted. And if you are not in touch with what you are doing well and the impact of your actions, how can you continue to grow and develop in the right direction?
Reflect on what is going well
Nino-Murcia recommends that first-time managers suffering from imposter syndrome take time to contemplate what has been accomplished and the role they played.
“Reflect on what is going well. Make a list using the pronoun ‘I’. What did you do to make this happen? How did you contribute to that success?”
This exercise is important to help first-time managers claim ownership of what they have achieved. As a new manager, that might mean acknowledging the leadership skills you’ve displayed to help you get promoted. Or write down a time when you trained a partner to learn a new skill.
Take note of your contributions to the team
As you develop in your managerial role, this practice will evolve, but the premise remains: Take note of your own contributions to the team’s success. It is important to make the distinction that you do not take credit for your reporting achievements, but instead acknowledge how you, as a manager, helped facilitate, guide, or encourage that success.
Like any new habit, the more you practice claiming your success, the easier it will become.
It’s okay to ask people to tell you how good you are. When we learn to give and receive feedback early in our careers, we often focus on constructive criticism: how we can improve, where we have room to grow, and the best ways to learn from failure. Focusing on constant improvement is probably what got you your promotion in the first place.
While giving and receiving constructive feedback is essential for personal and professional growth, those struggling with imposter syndrome, particularly new managers, have a clear need for positive, targeted feedback. But if you’re not asking the right questions, your insecurities can come back, avoiding generic compliments as jokes.
What kind of feedback
“Dig deeper into how you get feedback,” advises Nino-Murcia. “It’s much harder to dismiss specific behavioral comments in the face of vague praise.”
Simply asking for positive feedback can make many people feel vulnerable and often doesn’t elicit meaningful and actionable responses. To get more in-depth feedback, he suggests, asking your manager questions like: “What is something I bring to the team that I wish others would also do?” or “It is important for me to learn from both my successes and my failures. Let’s take a look at some of the things that went really well this last quarter.”
Similarly, you need to be clear when asking for positive feedback on your own reports. Instead of settling for blanket characterizations like “You’ve been a great manager,” ask for two or three specific things you’ve done that have been helpful or had a positive impact.
In the end, it’s not all in your head
The truth is that sometimes the voice that says you don’t know what you’re doing is right. You are new to the job, after all. There will be a learning curve and skills you will need to develop over time. It’s natural to doubt yourself along the way.
Trust is like respect, you have to earn it.
Confidence in your abilities is not something innate and static whether you have it or not, it is something you build through hard work. Becoming a great manager is no different.
You don’t need to have all the answers right away
Instead of trying to instill confidence in your managerial abilities through sheer force of will, it can be liberating to accept that you don’t have to have all the answers right away. Acknowledging your imperfections while striving to improve is not the same as the crippling downward spiral of self-doubt triggered by impostor syndrome. If you don’t feel confident in your abilities right now, trust your ability to learn and grow and just work hard instead. Confidence as a manager and leader will come.
In their original 1978 report on impostor syndrome, Clance and Imes conclude their findings with some hope that through self-awareness and practice, people can change the way they think: …begins to allow yourself to say and feel: “I’m smart. I have learned and accomplished a tremendous amount. It’s okay for me to believe in my own abilities and intellectual strengths.” Begin to free yourself from the burden of believing that you are a phony and can participate more fully in the joys, excitement, and power of your accomplishments.
You can be proud of your team’s achievements and your own. And if you can overcome this hurdle as an emerging leader, you’ll find that celebrating your own success is not only rewarding personal motivation, but a crucial part of your professional growth.
The best managers protect their team’s time and attention so they can focus on doing their best work.