This could be the first time you’ve come across this term or maybe to you it’s one of those fancy buzzwords that keep emerging every now and then. But I’m sure you have felt the imposter syndrome at some point in your life.
Everybody has that one special moment in their lives when they feel like they’ve made it. You feel like you are the king of the world. Your first senior position. Your first deal. Your first award. An everlasting sense of accomplishment.
Then, unexpectedly, you are hit by a strange feeling. You start questioning yourself.
What if it was just good luck? What if I make just one mistake and I lose everything that I have right now? Do I deserve this? How many people have done this already to make it an accomplishment? You start questioning yourself and that’s where self-doubt kicks in.
It’s a universal feeling and I bet you might have felt this way at some point in life. Imposter syndrome is a bizarre feeling that plagues the minds of people, especially high-achievers who push themselves to be better than what they are. It’s where you feel like a fraud or like your successes don’t belong to you, and it can cause a lot of anxiety. A lot of employees tend to feel pressure from this as they work their way in a certain company. But it doesn’t have to be this way and that’s where the HR heroes come in.
Here’s how HR can help employees manage imposter syndrome:
Many articles and blogs discuss how to help people overcome imposter syndrome, but I believe it is kind of impossible to overcome this feeling completely. It will always linger around you but what is important is how you manage the feeling of self-doubt and move forward.
Back to how HR can help:
1.Managers should receive relevant training.
Managers play an important role in encouraging and supporting employees, but few are well prepared to deal with impostor syndrome among their team members, especially when they start to open up. When confronted with an employee’s self-doubt, most managers will try to reassure them by saying things like, “I know you can do it,” as Tara Mohr describes in the Harvard Business Review. I wouldn’t have assigned you this task if I didn’t believe you were capable.”
Employees with impostor syndrome may be more stressed if they believe their deception is being overlooked by their managers. Educate your organization’s managers on the various symptoms of impostor syndrome and train them on how to communicate to their employees that fears and self-doubt are normal parts of the job. An employee’s goal should not be to achieve supreme self-confidence, but rather to improve self-doubt management.
2.Create open relationships from the start.
You should go beyond interviews as a representative of the HR department. Consider incorporating mentoring into your onboarding process to help employees form relationships from the start. Let them know that HR is always available to talk about anything, including impostor syndrome.
3.Make your workplace a friendly place to be.
A workplace environment that severely penalizes failure is likely to encourage impostor syndrome among its employees. Think about whether your company sees failure as a tragic ending or a chance to learn. It’s crucial to convey to your staff that mistakes do occur, but they don’t have to be humiliating. When appropriate, encourage your executives to discuss their failure and self-doubt experiences. Set the example early on that making mistakes is acceptable and that managing self-doubt rather than always feeling confident is more important.
HR can involve everyone in the company in managing impostor syndrome by coaching your managers, developing connections that make workers feel safe to open up, and cultivating a culture where failure & success are both appreciated & celebrated. This will encourage your employees to give it their all and will be less likely to self-doubt. Even if they do, the company has a strong HR backed by a great work environment that makes them feel secure eventually.