Workers who worry that they aren’t worthy suffer personally, professionally; and their negativity can hurt the organization.
Employees who suffer from imposter syndrome tend to experience less job satisfaction and higher levels of burnout, according to studies. At the same time, these individuals also perform poorly at work. By identifying these people and getting them the help they need to feel better about themselves and their abilities, employers can improve productivity and keep promising employees from failing.
Imposter syndrome, in which high-achieving people fail to appreciate their own accomplishments, are plagued by self-doubt, and worry about being exposed as fakes, affects men and women in many industries. While it isn’t a recognized psychiatric disorder, imposter syndrome has received greater attention in recent years; and more research findings point to its significant impact on how people work and how they feel about their jobs.
In 62 studies involving 14,161 participants, the prevalence rates of imposter syndrome varied from 9% to 82%. Researchers have found that it is particularly prevalent among ethnic minorities and that people who have this issue also experience depression and anxiety. These problems, in turn, contribute to impaired job performance, lower job satisfaction, and burnout.
Researchers have found a significant relationship between imposter syndrome and self-reported difficulties managing work/life balance. However, they also determined that this was minimized if workers had support from management. This suggests that leadership can play a role in helping employees with imposter syndrome feel better about their jobs, their company, and themselves.
While there is no officially recognized treatment for imposter syndrome, researchers suggest validating people’s doubts and addressing their fears of failure. Group therapy that lets individuals see that they’re not alone also may be helpful. In general, employers should be aware of this issue and watch for workers who display signs of insecurity, feeling like luck (rather than talent) is responsible for their successes, and being overly modest or self-deprecating. By stepping in and helping these individuals get help and support, employers can retain talented people and improve productivity and innovation.