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Anxious New Leader? How to Deal with Imposter Syndrome
July 19, 2021 | Category: Blog, Intelligent Leadership
If you constantly doubt yourself, fearful that someone will discover you as an intellectual fraud, you may be struggling with imposter syndrome. Leadership coaching boosts your self-confidence by developing your self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Being able to observe the negative thoughts that make up the imposter syndrome can help.
Leadership coaching can boost your confidence.
For some, leadership is natural. Such leaders fall right into the role and make it look easy, even if they have no previous experience.
Others find it much more difficult to adapt to their new roles as leaders. Reluctance to lead can take many forms, and imposter syndrome is one of its frequent manifestations. At the core of all these problems is a fundamental lack of confidence, which is manageable through leadership coaching.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Stemming from lack of self-confidence, imposter syndrome does not entail a character flaw or a missing competence on the part of the leader.
Low self-esteem tells a leader with imposter syndrome that he/she is not good enough/suitable for the leadership role. Also, such leaders may believe that they have attained their current position due to luck or misleading maneuvering.
This psychological condition is also associated with holding oneself to impossibly high standards, working too much, and downplaying one’s accomplishments.
Do You Have Imposter Syndrome?
How do you know if your self-confidence is low enough to make you feel like an imposter?
- You question why you got the leadership position.
- You feel that your accomplishments are insufficient and unimpressive.
- You doubt your abilities and are, therefore, reluctant to act on new opportunities.
- You avoid asking for help lest someone should discover your weaknesses.
- You are a workaholic.
- Despite your best efforts, you regularly fail to complete projects.
You Can Defeat Your Imposter Syndrome through Executive Coaching
In my leadership coaching books, blog posts, and speeches, I have always identified self-awareness as one of the core elements of intelligent leadership.
Self-awareness lets you recognize your feelings and emotions, allowing you to place them in a relevant context to uncover their true meanings. Once you learn to recognize the negative emotions imposter syndrome triggers in you, you are but a step away from extinguishing the problem.
Use your self-awareness and emotional intelligence to rein in your need for constant validation. Let your values guide your choices, and learn to trust them.
The need for constant validation is a hallmark of low self-esteem in day-to-day life and leadership.
Endowed with sufficient self-awareness, you will recognize the tricky nature of validation and train yourself to avoid it in the future. Gaining repeated validation about something that you have set out to accomplish feels like you are making progress toward your goal, when in fact, you may not be. In part, that may be why you are seeking validation in the first place.
Accept and Communicate to Others that You Don’t Know Everything
Leaders with imposter syndrome feel like everyone around them expects them to know more than they do.
Admit to yourself and others that you don’t have all the answers. Intelligent leadership requires leaders to show vulnerability to build meaningful relationships with their reports and peers.
In most cases, you need to be an authority, not an expert.
Admitting that you don’t know everything is not akin to admitting that you are a fraud. It just makes you human and thus more capable of connecting with others.
Be Receptive to Feedback
Utilize the information others provide to improve yourself as a leader and to further the organizational cause. Learn not to perceive feedback as an attempt to blow your cover.
Instead, use it to create an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses. Recognize your weaknesses as an integral part of who you are as a leader. Try to compensate for them through your strengths — and by taking steps to fill your knowledge gaps.
Celebrate Your Accomplishments
Celebrating smaller milestones on your way to the “big one” doesn’t just boost your self-confidence. It also allows you to avoid burnout and find motivation as you go.
Leadership coaching can hand you the keys to boosting self-confidence and defeating imposter syndrome. Take a closer look at my blog posts to learn more and pick up my leadership development books.