Impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that makes a person feel inadequate and incompetent despite their skills and success. Workers who experience this typically have the constant need to prove themselves so they are not exposed as frauds in the workplace.
People from different industries and professions such as family lawyers, GP accountants, care salesmen, technical support representatives, and a lot more suffer from this syndrome which, when left untreated, may result in a person succumbing to depression and anxiety.
Unknown to you, you may have some employees or colleagues who are suffering from it without your knowledge. Here are a few ways that your company culture helps perpetuate the impostor syndrome in the workplace.
5 Ways Your Company’s Culture Brings Out the Impostor Syndrome in Your People
1. Praise is rarely given.
How have you been treating your employees? Do you always only give criticism under the guise of it as constructive? If you keep doing this, your people will feel incompetent most of the time and they will end up always frustrated.
Solution: Learn to give them the praises that are due them. It is found that positive reinforcement is ten times likely to motivate people to work harder than always being critical of their faults and shortcomings.
2. The gold standard of performance is being available 24/7 and working long hours.
If you’re running your company like a slavedriver, always expecting your people to make themselves readily available at a moment’s notice, you need to stop doing that. Your employees will feel stifled and pressured to accommodate you at the expense of their personal time for themselves or their families just to please you or prove themselves worthy.
Solution: Respect your people’s time off the way you want others to respect your off-work hours. If you’re on the receiving end, learn how to set boundaries for yourself. People, including your bosses, need to understand that your time and attention are also needed in other areas of your life.
3. The management plays favorites.
If someone from your team always feels like the odd man out and believes that no matter how well they perform or how hard they try, they are always left out and neglected while the others enjoy the attention you constantly bestow on them.
Solution: Avoid giving preferential treatment to specific individuals and treat everyone equally, giving everyone the same opportunities for growth. This means that you should give your workers whatever it is they need for professional growth and advancement—encouragement, comfort, rebuke, or correction—as long as these are given accordingly. Avoid having biases.
4. Workers have a constant need to always prove their worth and value.
When your employees have a nagging feeling that they need to always prove their worth or their value to the company instead of just being satisfied at doing their 100% best, you need to reevaluate your relationship with them. This type of mentality could lead to perpetual frustration at work, which could eventually lead to burnout.
Solution: Keep communication lines open between you and your people. Recognize their hard work, not just their achievements. Constantly express your appreciation for all of their hard work and contribution to the company. When you do this, you are helping boost their confidence and self-esteem which leads to a happier and more satisfied workforce.
5. Objectives are not clearly defined and established.
When the company goals aren’t clear, your workforce will be like restless wanderers in the wilderness just going around in circles with no destination in mind. When this happens, they will feel purposeless and directionless. This contributes to the feeling of inadequacy and incompetence.
Solution: Revisit your company’s vision, mission, and objectives and clearly outline each one. Streamline them and come up with clear goals so that everyone knows where they are headed. As the captain of the ship, it is your responsibility to show your crew where you are to go.
The best way for your employees to overcome impostor syndrome is to help them become more efficient and effective at work with positive reinforcement, clear objectives, equal treatment, constant appreciation, and empathy.