Anxious leaders & imposter syndrome

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anxious_scared_figure_1600_wht_8434Perhaps leaders have been having a hard time, what with the economy and all (well excluding the bankers of course).

And while it’s usually female leaders who suffer most from “imposter syndrome” – and some women might argue that many men lack the self-awareness to even think they might not be up to the job – that’s not necessarily true any more. Amelia Hill in The Observer (2010) revealed that about 50% of men feel anxious most of the time – especially around women – and most often at work.


Feeling like a fraud“, was the heading for an article on Imposter Syndrome in the Psychologist (Vol 23 No 5 May 2010). The author describes it as having 3 components:

  1. you feel that other people have an inflated perception of your capabilities,
  2. you worry about being “found out”, and
  3. you attribute your success to external factors such as” being in the right place at the right time”.

This condition may typically take hold when you are starting a new job and worrying about making a good impression. I have seen this often when working with executives coaching them through their first 100 days.

It seems almost everyone can experience the feeling of being incompetent at times and comparing themselves with others they consider better performers doesn’t help. They might be better examining their own feelings about being successful and why they might self-sabotage.

When I first wrote this male confidence was apparently at a low and with no strong real-life role models men were resorting to fictional characters, lucky charms, lucky socks, lucky pants, and alcohol according to an article in The Guardian.


One thought on “Anxious leaders & imposter syndrome

    […] third reason is the inner critic we all have which creates self-doubt (and gives rise to imposter syndrome, something else I posted about […]

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