Do you suffer from 'imposter syndrome'?

It’s a disease impacting more employees than you think

Do you suffer from 'imposter syndrome'?

Have you ever felt like you’re not good enough for the job you’re doing? As if you’ve fallen into the role by chance and you’re desperately trying to keep your head above water?

Then you may have come down with a case of imposter syndrome. A psychological phenomenon in which the employee has internalized panic over being exposed as a fraud – despite the fact they’re more than qualified for their career choice.

HRD Canada spoke to Denise Roy, VP of HR at Cardinal Couriers and speaker at HR Leaders Summit Toronto, who explained the malady in more detail.

“Essentially, imposter syndrome is the feeling that you’ll never be good enough no matter how qualified you are to do something,” she said. “So, it’s not about a lack of confidence or nervousness – it’s pervasive self-doubt. It’s that voice inside of your head that says, ‘you’re not deserving of this’.

“Whilst this can affect anybody, there’s a lot of studies out there that show it primarily affects women of a higher education. It’s not about trying to do something that you’re unqualified for – there are women out there who hold multiple Ph.Ds. that are victims of imposer syndrome.”

It can impact any gender – Denise was quick to point out. However, she did reveal the research gone into imposter syndrome shows it primarily affects females.

A recent report from career development agency Amazing If found that 40% of female workers admit to feeling intimidated by senior figures, compared to just 22% of their male counterparts.

And this is not a new phenomenon. Although imposter syndrome only really came to light in the 70s, the disease itself pre-dates any research.

“It’s been going on as long as you can imagine,” added Denise. “When you look at it from a gendered point of view, namely women in the workforce, you can see just how many biases we’ve had to overcome. And when you couple that with a feeling that we’re not good enough, it’s not great.”

So, how can you help your employees overcome the miasma?

To find out exactly how, book your tickets to our upcoming HR Leaders Summit in Toronto. Find out more here.


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