85% UK professionals suffer from Imposter Syndrome – How to combat imposter syndrome

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02
Jun

85% UK professionals suffer from Imposter Syndrome – How to combat imposter syndrome

On May 20 2021, HR News published statistics and data of 1,000 UK adults that were surveyed about imposter syndrome, all of them having been working in their industry for at least 3 years. In the survey, 85% of them expressed that they feel incompetent at work.

Out of the 1,000 UK professionals that participated on the survey, 85% expressed they suffer from imposter syndrome, it being 90% of women and 80% of men.

They also expressed the kind of environment they wanted to work in and what they needed to help reduce imposter syndrome. Some of the things that were discussed were the following:


  • 60% of the people surveyed have expressed that they needed positive feedback regularly on their performance.
  • 44% of the people surveyed had said that they want an open environment to discuss challenges. This can help with employees being comfortable to speak up when they have issues with no fear of being seen as incompetent.

What is Imposter Syndrome?

Imposter syndrome is a reference to an experience that is done internally and having the belief that you are not in fact as competent as other people may make you out or perceive to be. Imposter syndrome is normally defined as achievement and intelligence being linked to social context and perfectionism.

In a simpler way, Imposter Syndrome is the experience of feeling:


  • As if you are a phoney/ fake;
  • Or that you are going to be exposed for being a fraud at any moment;
  • You may feel like you do not belong at a place where you are;
  • And that you are only in the place that you are right now is because of dumb luck.

Imposter syndrome is something that anyone can experience regardless of their social status, or their work background, degree of expertise or their skill level.

Imposter syndrome can have a big impact on a person that is in a working environment. It can affect a person’s productivity and performance in the workplace as they struggle with imposter syndrome. This will result in them having a distorted, negative self-perception of themselves.

There are many different signs of imposter syndrome, such as:


  • Feeling unworthy of success;
  • Feeling depressed or anxious;
  • Having the fear that they will be discovered to be a fraud;
  • Having the belief that compliments and praises that they get are because of being nice, and not because it was earned by them;
  • Feeling like the job that they got or the place that they are in is because of luck and not because of talent.

All these feelings can cause the person to suffer from imposter syndrome.

More indicators of an employee that suffers of imposter syndrome are:


  • Trying to minimise positive feedback that they receive;
  • Overpreparing for their work, causing them to burn out with overworking;
  • Not trying because of fear of failure;
  • Not trusting others.

How to combat imposter syndrome in a working environment?

All the above describes that anyone can suffer and be affected from imposter syndrome. In the workplace and generally, it is important to have awareness of imposter syndrome and what it is. So that if someone you know is suffering from imposter syndrome, you could support them in combating it.

There are different ways of combating imposter syndrome in a working environment:


  • For your new employees you could provide effective training, and for your current employees an ongoing course to keep them up-to-date, or just to go through the same things as a refresher.
  • Ensure that for each role the responsibilities of employees are clearly defined and ensure that they are available to them for their reference.
  • Educate your employees about the anxieties and symptoms that are linked with imposter syndrome.
  • Giving encouragement, discussing any issues and, as a resource, establish supervisors instead of a boss when needed. All these things should be done through regular check-ins.
  • Recognising your employee’s accomplishments is a good way of letting them know that they have done good work.

How could you help yourself in combating imposter syndrome?


  • Praising yourself for your efforts and successes;
  • Recognising your expertise;
  • Defining what success means, without counting the approval of other people;
  • Practise by setting yourself with realistic goals;
  • To avoid overworking, set yourself some limits and boundaries;
  • Keep yourself away from toxic competitions;
  • Remember that no one is perfect.

In conclusion, imposter syndrome is very common, however, so is combating it and overcoming it with helpful resources and tips. You and/or your employees may start to experience the feelings and signs of suffering imposter syndrome at some point, and it is key to have some of these helpful resources and tips in mind.

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