Imposter Syndrome: The Threat to Workplace Success?

Imposter Syndrome: The Threat to Workplace Success?

Successful relationships in business are dependent on good working relationships founded on mutual trust. When people take on key roles they need to understand their responsibilities and the scope of the tasks they’re tasked with carrying out. But what if, despite your achievements and the position you’ve reached, you don’t think you deserve it?  Imposter Syndrome is when you feel like a fraud at work and that, sooner or later, you’ll be found out.

“It is more common than you think. I have successfully helped many individuals to find ways of conquering their fears while accepting who they are”, explains Mike Pollitt, owner of True Progress Coaching, in Wilmslow, Cheshire. “It’s down to how you see the world and if you have an underlying sense of inferiority that expresses itself in you constantly questioning your self-worth”.

What is the Impact of Imposter Syndrome?

It’s not just about feeling this inner discomfort.  It can also impede development and lead to failure.  Mike explains, “You can end up avoiding situations where you believe you’re more likely to be vulnerable to exposure. You can then end up underperforming at the very things you do best”.

Feeling like an imposter at work impacts on the individual and on relationships with others. Constant technological change and innovation requires many senior managers and directors to depend on others to supply the right kind of knowledge and expertise. This is a trust issue and trust is more likely to be undermined if the senior person in the relationship feels uncomfortable with their status.

“There’s a tendency for sufferers of Imposter Syndrome to try and retain too much control”, continues Mike.  “Paradoxically, they see delegation as a kind of weakness that could lead to others realising they’re not actually worthy of being in charge”.

The growth of knowledge-sharing in organisations requires greater levels of adaptability from senior members within the structure and can be a challenge to an older, strong-assertive leadership stereotype.

“People can end up hiding their fears, especially men”, Mike concludes. “Even the most successful of us can struggle with self-doubt”.


HR Aspects Magazine appreciate Mike Pollitt’s contribution to this article.  To read our related article, please click on the link below;

Imposter Syndrome: Are You Uncomfortable in Business?