There are many types of people. Some people blow their own trumpets loud, although, in reality, they’re not as great as they think they are. There are some people with real, amazing skills who doubt their value. Have you ever felt your achievements are due to luck? Or are you not doing as well as your manager and colleagues think? This is impostor syndrome, which will develop into a chronic mental health issue if left untreated.
There are five types of impostor syndrome:
You’ve learned a lot, think that you know everything, and feel ashamed when you don’t.
You have high standards and beat yourself up when you fail to meet them
You feel that you should do well in every role in life (as a child, parent, friend, colleague, etc)
You like working alone and you can achieve them alone whilst refusing to get help from others.
You’re a genius; thus, you feel things should be easy. you’re a genius thus you feel things should be handled with ease
Unfortunately, these high-achievers think they’re frauds. For professionals, impostor syndrome will negatively impact their work relationships and drive them to overwork themselves to “prove” themselves. It’ll make them scared of taking on new challenges at work.
Companies will miss new ideas and innovations. They might even lose to their competitors because these professionals with impostor syndrome are afraid to do things differently. They’re afraid they will fail, ‘exposing’ them as frauds.
If you’re experiencing impostor syndrome at work, here are some tips for dealing with it:
Re-read your performance review report
This is one of the easiest ways to handle the issue. You think you know yourself well, but you may have some blind spots as a human. When that self-doubt feeling creeps in, re-read your performance review and believe what your manager or colleagues say about you. This is the workplace; the chance of people sugar-coating the review is low. However, if you’re at the top position, be wary of fake reviews from people who want to win your favour.
Be kind to yourself
You’re capable, you’re worth it, and you’re up to the challenges. There’s a reason why you’re hired, and your boss has confidence in you. So, when things go south, be kind to yourself. Stop blaming yourself for failures or mistakes. Like life, you’ll experience ups and downs with your career. Learn to accept compliments. Say ‘thank you when someone praises you or gives you the thumbs up
Know your strengths and weaknesses
Becoming self-aware can boost your confidence. Do a self-check about your strengths and weaknesses. Gather feedback from your 360 reviews for additional information. When you’re aware of your strengths and weaknesses, you can replace the negative thoughts because you know it’s your strength, not pure luck. Or it’s your weaknesses; therefore, you’re not a fraud and can do better next time.
Ask for feedback
“If you don’t ask, you’ll never know.” — ever heard about this?
Whenever you doubt yourself, ask for feedback from your manager and colleagues. For example, you’re taking on a new challenge and unsure how to perform with the project. Ask your manager and others involved in the project how you’re doing. You don’t have to wait until you finish the project or during the performance review. By doing this, you’ll have time to make some improvements.
Set realistic goals
If you’re a perfectionist, you’re prone to experience impostor syndrome. Your desire to achieve perfection will leave you feeling like a fraud. You’ll be criticising yourself for minor errors. Set realistic goals, and don’t be afraid to take on new challenges or think out of the box. It’s okay if you don’t do it well for the first time, you can continually improve it.
Accept support from others
Some people like to work by themselves. They have high standards and will work to achieve them. Sadly, this sometimes can lead to burnout.
Depending on the situation and project, receiving support from others or asking for help is okay. Accepting help doesn’t make you less incompetent or a fraudster. It might increase your efficiency and open your mind to new ideas.
For companies, here are some of the things you can do to deal with impostor syndrome:
Avoid over rewarding individuals
Employees who receive an employment package that exceeds their expectations are prone to experience impostor syndrome. Although skilled, due to their sky-high salary, they may feel that the company has misjudged their ability. Employees may think that with a superior package comes unrealistic expectations.
Therefore, it’s good for HR to research market rates or specific jobs and have salary ranges for every role. Doing this allows you to hire the right employees at a fair price without over-aligning them.
Encourage inclusivity at work
Some people who suffer from impostor syndrome at work, especially the minority groups, feel excluded from their workplace. HR personnel can try a few ways to encourage inclusivity at work, such as:
- Communicate this issue during the onboarding and annually — let the newbies and current employees know that the company values inclusivity, so they should too
- Ask for feedback from the employees and act on them — employees will feel that the company hears their voices, so they’re more confident in sharing their opinions with others
- If you hire talents from various countries, have the rule to use English only in the meetings — This way nobody will feel left out, and everyone understands what’s happening
- Allow employees to develop themselves — provide your employees with training, seminars, or online course, so they know that the company cares about them.
Run an awareness week for mental health issues
Sometimes, employees don’t realise that they have impostor syndrome. By running an awareness week for mental health issues, HR can actively discuss topics related to mental health, including impostor syndrome. Some of the ways that HR could raise awareness for imposter syndrome would be:
- Put up posters with motivational quotes
- Conduct seminars
- Invite some therapists to the office so your employees can have on-the-spot consultations
All in all,
Those are some tips for individuals and HR personnel on handling impostor syndrome at work. Remember that nobody’s perfect, stay positive and when in doubt, ask for feedback.