8 Ways to Alleviate Imposter Syndrome in Your Staff

As a leader, you may have employees who attribute their accomplishments to something outside of themselves. Despite impressive credentials and accomplishments, they don’t believe in their own success.

This behavior may be due to something called imposter syndrome.

How can you help these employees? This article will explore imposter syndrome in the workplace, its causes, and strategies to assist employees dealing with it.

Let’s get started.

What Is Imposter Syndrome?

Everyone experiences occasional dips in confidence, but imposter syndrome refers to a more persistent and enduring feeling. It’s a lasting sense of self-doubt regarding one’s intelligence, abilities, and accomplishments.

People experiencing imposter syndrome at work believe they’re not the experts they appear to be. Regardless of their successes, their accomplishments feel fraudulent, not something to be celebrated.

At times, imposter syndrome can even impact an individual’s performance.

Who Gets Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome can affect anyone, even those who’ve achieved success, are in demanding roles, or have high-pressure jobs. This phenomenon can impact people from various professions, genders, ethnicities, and social statuses.

Signs of Imposter Syndrome at Work

Imposter syndrome is common and can affect anyone, making it hard to spot in employees. Still, there are some behaviors you might observe in someone dealing with imposter syndrome.

  • Perfectionism. Their work must be absolutely perfect, though their criteria for perfection may be impossible to achieve. Fearing failure, they overwork and take more time than needed.
  • They check their work more than necessary or become anxious when routines are interrupted.
  • Denial of their own abilities. They cannot see what they have to contribute.
  • Not contributing to team meetings. You know they have expertise, but they remain silent.
  • They talk more about their weaknesses than their strengths.
  • They attribute your positive feedback to something or someone else.

Some people make excuses for what they can’t do. People with imposter syndrome make excuses for what they can do.

RELATED: How Perfectionism Can Hurt a Team

8 Ways Leaders Can Alleviate Imposter Syndrome at Work

You’re not a psychologist or counselor. No one expects you to completely eliminate an employee’s imposter syndrome. Instead, concentrate on tackling observable behaviors in the workplace.

  1. Communicate openly. Create a positive environment. Clearly define success and set expectations for performance and communication. Regularly give constructive feedback and celebrate successes.
  2. Discourage perfectionism. Errors are part of the work process and can become learning opportunities.
  3. Initiate conversations. Discuss, for example, ways to help the employee feel more comfortable speaking up in meetings. If the employee asks for counseling, refer them to any company benefits that cover it.
  4. Encourage continuous learning. Support training and development opportunities, like classes, degree programs, conferences, seminars, online programs, and professional associations.
  5. Check the work environment. If corrective action is needed, work toward creating a sense of belonging in the workplace.
  6. Create team bonding opportunities. Give team members opportunities to get to know one another. Communicate expectations of mutual respect.
  7. Express your confidence in your employees. Show them that you believe in their abilities.
  8. Lead by example. As always, make sure you’re doing your best to show the same behaviors you expect from your team.

READ NEXT: Leveraging Languages of Appreciation at Work for Leaders

Rising Above Imposter Syndrome

Overcoming imposter syndrome at work means confronting personal challenges and thriving in a nurturing setting. As a leader, you hold the power to shape the work environment, offering invaluable support to these employees while benefiting the entire team.