4 Signs of Imposter Syndrome and What to Do About It
Have you ever felt like you’re successful only because of
luck? Do you ever feel like you’ve fooled people into thinking you know what
you’re doing? Do think people perceive you a lot better than you see yourself?
If you’ve ever had these feelings or similar thoughts of self-doubt, you’ve
likely suffered from imposter syndrome.
Imposter syndrome is a mental condition where you doubt your accomplishments and worry about being exposed as a fraud. It’s incredibly common – 70% of people will experience it at least once in their careers – and can affect anyone from an intern to the owner of the company. If left untreated, imposter syndrome can lead to problems for you and your small business, including decreased employee morale and productivity. Keep an eye out for these four signs of imposter syndrome in your employees.
1. Turning down new opportunities
Pay attention to team members who are afraid to take on new
responsibilities, including turning down promotions. Refusing new challenges is
a sign that they aren’t confident in their abilities or that they’re afraid
that they won’t excel, so they think it’s better not to try at all.
Perfectionists often set unhealthy and unrealistically high
goals for themselves, so they heavily criticize their work when it doesn’t meet
those expectations. Even if they achieve their goals, a perfectionist might
feel like they weren’t successful because they think the task could have done
better. Sometimes, it can be difficult for perfectionists to delegate because
they believe they’re the only one who can do the job correctly.
On the surface, it might seem like a workaholic is good for your business – they’re always the first one to work and the last one to leave. It’s likely they even continue to work from home at the end of the day. But, workaholism can often lead to burnout. These workers may regularly skip workplace social events because they think they have too much to do, and they might even ignore their own hobbies to focus on their job.
4. Refusing help
People with imposter syndrome will often refuse help when
offered because they feel like they have to prove their worth. They think that
if someone helps them, that person will realize they’re a fraud.
6 ways to handle imposter syndrome
Because imposter syndrome can lead to employees making mistakes
because they’re too afraid to ask for help or getting burnt out because they
never stop working, it’s crucial that you create a workplace that builds your
team’s confidence in themselves.
1. Celebrate achievements
Encourage your team to celebrate their accomplishments, no
matter how small. By applauding their achievements, your workers will recognize
that their success isn’t just an accident or caused by luck, and it will help
them focus on their strengths, not their weaknesses.
2. Create a mentorship program
If your team members mentor each other, they can see how far
they’ve come and can prove to themselves that they’re skilled and talented. If
an employee is being mentored, they have someone who can help them figure out
what their next steps should be and can help them determine how best to tackle
new challenges and opportunities.
3. Reward those who ask for help
Asking for help can help your workers grow and ensure that
nothing falls through the cracks. Create a culture where your team is
comfortable asking for help.
4. Encourage openness
Let your staff know that occasionally doubting yourself is
normal by sharing your own experiences with imposter syndrome. Encourage them
to talk about their feelings of self-doubt because sometimes people need to
talk through their worries to realize they’re unfounded.