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Navigating Imposter Syndrome

ABM Partner Netwomen

March 25, 2024

Imposter Syndrome is a pervasive phenomenon characterised by persistent self-doubt, a sense of intellectual fraudulence, and the fear of being exposed as a "fraud," despite clear evidence of one's competence and achievements. This psychological pattern is notably prevalent among women in the workplace, where societal and professional dynamics often exacerbate these feelings. Addressing and understanding Imposter Syndrome is imperative in fostering supportive and inclusive work environments.

Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace

What the numbers say

Imposter Syndrome often originates from a confluence of personal and external factors. High achievers, despite their accomplishments, may harbour a fear of failure or harbour beliefs that their success is undeserved. Women, in particular, face distinct challenges that amplify these feelings, including entrenched gender stereotypes, underrepresentation in leadership roles, and a persistent gender pay gap.

Recent studies have shown that Imposter Syndrome...

  • Prevalence Among Individuals: A 2022 study in theJournal of General Internal Medicine revealed that approximately 82% of individuals experience Imposter Syndrome at some point, indicating its widespread nature. This syndrome is particularly pronounced among women and minority groups, underscoring the need for targeted interventions in the workplace (Source: Journal of General Internal Medicine, 2022).
  • Impact on Female Executives: A 2023 KPMG survey highlighted that 75% of female executives have encountered Imposter Syndrome at various stages of their careers, with 85% believing it to be a common experience among women in corporate settings. This statistic emphasises the importance of organisational efforts to address this issue through supportive measures and policies (Source: KPMG, 2023).

Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

Organisations wield significant influence in mitigating Imposter Syndrome among their employees. Cultivating a culture that celebrates diversity, encourages open dialogue about challenges, and recognises achievements can substantially alleviate feelings of impostorism. Providing resources and training focused on enhancing self-esteem and combating Imposter Syndrome is also vital.

Strategies for overcoming Imposter Syndrome int he workplace as well as an individual include:

  1. Acknowledgement and Acceptance: Recognising the presence of Imposter Syndrome is the initial step towards overcoming it. Realising that these feelings are widespread and do not reflect one's true capabilities is crucial.
  2. Seeking Support: Engaging in open conversations about Imposter Syndrome, through mentorship, peer support groups, or professional counselling, can provide validation and empowerment.
  3. Setting Realistic Expectations: Establishing achievable goals and celebrating incremental successes can build confidence and mitigate feelings of inadequacy.
  4. Reframing Failure: Viewing failure as an integral part of learning and growth can diminish the impact of Imposter Syndrome.

To navigate the complexities of Imposter Syndrome, both individuals and organisations must adopt a multifaceted approach. This includes challenging deep-seated norms, implementing equitable practices, and fostering an environment where diversity and open discussions are embraced. By acknowledging and addressing Imposter Syndrome, we can unlock the full potential of the workforce, driving innovation, growth, and inclusivity.

If you're an ABM Member, you can find a more in-depth conversation between ABM Director Gary King and Netwomen Founder Pinky Ghadiali on you Members Area here. Not an ABM Member? Discover more information about the ABM Membership here.

About Netwomen

Founded by ABM Member Pinky Ghadiali, Netwomen helps organisations increase profits by attracting, retaining and elevating talented female leaders to bridge the gender gap and keep them there. Netwomen does this through inclusive leadership training and professional development.

They also offer additional support through leadership coaching, peer connection and global DEIB sessions. Helping fast track new hires and middle management to the top to create inclusive leadership. Netwomen also invites senior leaders to be role models, lifting each other up and paying it forward. Organisations can sponsor their ambitious talent to join our programs or our membership.

Create Equity. Celebrate Equality.

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