Updated: Aug 26, 2021
Do you ever feel that you are never good enough? That there's something in you that does not "fit" your job or your organization?
If so, you are not alone. A 2020 research article by Bravata et al. reviewed 62 studies of "impostor syndrome" involving more than 14,000 participants. The authors described the phenomenon as persistent feelings of self-doubt among otherwise high-achieving individuals. The prevalence? Anywhere between 9 and 82% of the sample.
Impostor syndrome affects both women and men, relates to significant stress, and often accompanies depression and anxiety. Those affected by the syndrome *feel* like impostors even when they are competent. In other words: Your highly capable, intelligent, and hard-working employees could be suffering in vain.
What can you do as a leader?
How can you promote a culture that "lifts up" employees, builds confidence, and provides recognition?
On a personal note: I, too, have experienced impostor syndrome. I worry my classes are not successful, even when students seem perfectly happy. I fret about training programs and conference presentations. By the end of a webinar - yes, webinars you all may have attended - I need to stop and breathe for a half hour. Was I good enough? I ask, exhausted.
Yes. I'm good enough. So are you. How can we convince ourselves - and our colleagues - that we truly belong?