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How is Imposter Syndrome Affecting Your Organisation?


Do leaders in your organisation need to become more effective?

How many are being held back in their effectiveness by imposter syndrome?

Statistics suggest that as many as 75% of us experience imposter syndrome at some point.

Imposter syndrome is not an illness (despite its name) but can be defined as a predominant fear of being found out as not good enough, deeply flawed or unworthy of the position they hold in an organisation.

Imposter syndrome can affect anyone. In my experience it is prevalent among leaders, even talented CEOs and MD of large organisations.

Critical points from Gartner’s recent HR Leaders Priorities for 2023 report:

➡ 60% said they would be prioritising Leader and Manager effectiveness

➡ 24% said their current leadership development approach does not prepare leaders for the future of work

How important is it then, to focus resources on helping Leaders and Managers overcome imposter syndrome?


The Effects

If leaders feel lonely, unsupported and undeserving of their leadership role, they can quickly go from coping to being ineffective.

Imposter syndrome can result in:

🔸 Poor decision making

🔸 Risk aversion

🔸 Low trust

🔸 Intolerance of mistakes and blaming

🔸 Mood swings

🔸 Procrastination

🔸 High stress levels and burnout

🔸 Uninspiring leadership

It can be a negative spiral, reducing the leader’s personal impact.

The resulting paralysis of perfectionism and fear of failure hinders the inspirational leadership style needed to drive the organisation through the challenges it faces.


Business Success

Imposter syndrome in a CEO can create a drop in organisational morale, working relationships and Board confidence.

Critically, every time the CEO’s performance is adversely impacted, that negative performance effect can be amplified in the rest of the organisation.

In this way, imposter syndrome can hit the bottom line – profit, revenue per employee and share price.

This is why noticing that imposter syndrome is important and acting to work on it is vital for the business.

How to Tackle Imposter Syndrome

Executive coaching can help leaders recognize when imposter syndrome is holding them back. It works by helping them to:

Uncover and re-programme self-limiting beliefs

Identify their thinking ‘saboteurs’, then learn to overcome them

Develop self-confidence and self-belief

Focus on strengths

Learn techniques for stopping imposter syndrome in its tracks

It can help them develop strategies for feeling the fear and ploughing ahead anyway.

If you found this article helpful and want to know more about how coaching can help leaders in your organisation to overcome imposter syndrome, then do get in touch.

You can send a DM on LinkedIn or email me: suzanne@theinnerpotential.com



Get in touch

Contact Suzanne Pullen +44(0)7483 235068 if you wish to discuss this post or any of the services The Inner Potential has to offer