UCL School of Management

24 August 2021

Organisations must rethink their approach to dealing with Imposter Syndrome

Group of red robots and one green roboto standing out from the crowd

Conquering Imposter Syndrome has long been down to the individual, but writing for The HR Director, Sunny Lee explains why this approach won’t work and the need for organisations to take a more proactive approach in shifting company culture to truly beat the syndrome.

Imposter Syndrome is often described as when someone experiences self-denying thoughts and feelings. They believe their accomplishments arise from some stroke of luck rather than because of their competencies and are often struck by fear of ‘being found out’ as not being that competent. Suffers are often made to feel like it is a personal problem they must overcome alone, and historically has been more associate with women. Sunny explains that viewing the condition as a purely individual or a generic gender-related problem can desensitise the response and prevent employers from engaging and understanding how to approach Imposter Syndrome.

Although prevalent in organisations across all industries, there is a huge lack of awareness about Imposter Syndrome in the workplace, with many sufferers not understanding the feelings they are experiencing and they are therefore unable to seek the right support. Sunny believes that Imposter Syndrome is a systematic problem and that organisations must revise their approach to identifying cases and be more proactive in supporting employees to overcome it. She suggests managers should; offer a safe space for employees to discuss their feelings, create a more inclusive and diverse culture and foster an environment that avoids extreme competition.

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Last updated Thursday, 26 August 2021