Here at Jomo, we care about matching up our candidates with the best contact centres in Wales. This company was created out of a need for flexibility and positivity within the workplace, so believing in your own abilities as an employee is essential. This can be hard when Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head – but we have the tips to get you back on track!

First described in 1978 by psychologists Imes and Clance, Imposter Syndrome has unfortunately become a common part of the modern workplace. High-achieving individuals, women, and women of colour, are most likely to experience symptoms of Imposter Syndrome.

These symptoms can be debilitating in the workplace and for one’s own self-esteem. As cheerleaders for our talented candidates, it is also important to be your own cheerleader. Here are a few tips to help you deal with the Imposter Syndrome monster.

  1. Give yourself a reality check.
  2. Keep your strengths in mind.
  3. Create a support network.
  4. Remember that knowledge is power.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

imposter syndrome work

It’s important to remember that once you realise negative thought patterns, you will be in a better position to change them thanks to an abundance of awareness.

Imposter Syndrome can affect anybody but it can become especially prevalent within the workplace. It can be mostly described as having intense feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence in comparison to your peers. Don’t feel guilty – this can happen even if you love your place of work, and all of this can come about regardless of your education and accomplishments.

It’s most important to remember that these feelings can be battled. You are not the problem, it’s the thought processes behind Imposter Syndrome.

Issues can arise when these feelings start to impact your work style and self-esteem. For example, some people end up working to the point of burnout as they set personal standards that are too high to reach. Not only can this impact your productivity at work, but your mental health also.

For some sufferers, these pressures of impossibly high standards come hand in hand with constant anxiety. Sufferers find themselves bombarded with an ‘imaginary’ and perceived pressure, alongside the pressure they put onto themselves. Obviously, this can be extremely exhausting and detrimental to one’s mental health and wellbeing.

What are the common symptoms of IS?

These symptoms do not apply to everyone. Different people will set different amounts of pressure on themselves, but you may be able to relate to the following signs:

  • Obsessive self-doubt.
  • An inability to assess your own competence and skills.
  • Attributing success to external factors.
  • Over-achieving.
  • Constantly setting challenging goals.
  • Fear of failure and living up to expectations.

Dealing with Imposter Syndrome at Work…

Step 1: Give yourself a reality check

If you can become aware of your negative thoughts, you are well on your way to dealing with Imposter Syndrome. Being aware of these thought patterns is the first step because you will then be able to identify them and change them for the better!

One way in which you can do this is by speaking to yourself. It sounds trivial, but saying something like this helps in grounding the negative thought:

‘I am having this thought because I am not feeling so confident in myself. I have tons of education experience. I put a lot of effort into my work’.

Don’t worry about feeling strange about doing this – it may be completely alien to you, but that doesn’t mean it’s a pointless process. By doing this, you will be actively controlling your mindset and your thoughts for the better. Go you!

Step Two: Keep Your Strengths in Mind 

Organise a meeting with your upline or manager to discuss your progress. This can be extremely motivating and inspiring, and you will be able to be open with your manager about your anxieties.

1-1 progress meetings are there for insight, and organising one shows how you have taken initiative and care about your progress and wellbeing within the job. Beforehand, make a list of your strengths and accomplishments throughout your time at work. It’s okay to build yourself up when you need it most – be proud of your achievements and accomplishments.

Step Three: Create a Support Network

imposter syndrome work

Having a supportive team around you can make all the difference. Remember why you have the role in the first place!

The worst thing you can do when these feelings arise is to isolate yourself. It can be easy to do this and to go quiet when you are battling these negative feelings. Push the boat out and you may very well surprise yourself. Here are a few suggestions to get started:

  • Actively build relationships with your co-workers.
  • Ask for feedback on your work (don’t be scared of it!).
  • Learn to trust and ask for help from people.

Having a healthy and supportive network of peers opens up coping strategies that cannot be explored when you are isolating yourself. Learn how to open up about your feelings and your thoughts, and never be ashamed in looking for a shoulder to lean on. We all need it sometimes (or a lot).

Step Four: Knowledge is power

The saying is true! When you have time, research on your company and industry. Don’t be afraid to widen your knowledge healthily. Even if it is 10 minutes of research a day, you are actively taking your professional progress into your own hands.

Inherently, this is a brilliant and proactive skill to have and it is a healthy habit to build upon. You will feel better after doing something positive towards your work life, which means less time can be given to negative thoughts contributing to Imposter Syndrome.

As a people-oriented business, we care about your wellbeing and pay attention to the context of our candidates. Life isn’t perfect (we wish it was…), but having these structures in place will help you become a healthier and happier employee, and that is exactly what we care about.

For career tips and information, you can learn a lot from our previous blog posts, with topics from interview tips to employer branding.

Written by Sarah Hopkins for Jomo People.