Skip to main content

Almost 60% of UK workers experience ‘imposter syndrome’ when they take on a new job, a feeling of self-doubt about their abilities. As a result, they believe they don’t deserve their jobs or success, or that they can never live up to others’ expectations. Due to this, they feel like impostors or frauds at work – regardless of how high they’ve risen or how impressive their achievements are. Taking on more responsibility causes us to experience this often.

In this article, leading midlands recruitment firm The KC Group look at how you can overcome it.

A 2020 review published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine reports that imposter syndrome affects 82% of the workforce worldwide.

Based on Google search volume data, a UK study by printer Solopress found that the most frequent search for imposter syndrome per 10,000 people in the UK’s most populous cities came from Mancunians, who seem to be the most concerned about it, with 22 searches per 10,000 people on average. The top three cities were Manchester (15), Leeds (15), Birmingham (13) and London (13). Edinburgh (12), Glasgow (12), Milton Keynes (11), Bristol (9), Belfast (9) and Coventry (8) rounded out the top 10.

The intricate interaction between local demographics and socioeconomic circumstances contributes to this phenomenon. In cities with higher imposter syndrome rates, women and minorities are more likely to be represented in the labour force. In addition to being prominent university cities, London, Manchester, Birmingham, and Leeds have also been found to suffer from imposter syndrome. Researchers have also shown that imposter syndrome affects students, particularly those from minority backgrounds, as well as professionals.

Taking direct action can help eliminate imposter syndrome within organisations and among individuals.

Here are five tips for overcoming imposter syndrome (for individuals)

1 Acknowledge that you are experiencing imposter syndrome

Identifying negative thinking traps will help you overcome them. If you realise that imposter syndrome has caused you to become trapped in an unhelpful cycle of thoughts, you can use cognitive behavioural therapy techniques to challenge those negative thoughts.

2 Ask for what you need when you need it

Strength comes from asking for support. Working in silence can be very lonely. To prevent a buildup of work and worry, break the silence and seek support right away.

3 Take care of yourself with kindness and compassion

Keep a record of your successes and victories. When imposter syndrome strikes, dig out your list of achievements and nice things people have said about you and your work.

4 Focus on self-validation rather than external validation

Looking within for encouragement when praise from others doesn’t come is a good idea when praise from others doesn’t come. Your goals should be realistic, challenging, and rewarding.

5 Change your negative self-talk

No one is perfect, and mistakes don’t equal failure. Instead of viewing learning experiences as shortfalls or skill deficits, try to see them as a chance to grow. Feelings of self-worth will be validated as a result.

Leaders and managers can support employees experiencing imposter syndrome by following these five tips

1 Create a psychologically safe work environment

Creating a nurturing environment will encourage colleagues to open up about their vulnerabilities. Social interaction can be very beneficial for people who struggle with imposter syndrome, as they often appear lonely.

2 Maintain a healthy work-life balance

Many people’s lives revolve around work, but it must always be balanced with the individual’s need for rest and relaxation. Individuals experiencing imposter syndrome can feel inadequacy, overwork, miss out on rest and struggle to perform as a result of their feelings of inadequacy.

3 Avoid blaming others and celebrate successes

Ensure that environments are conducive to growth and succession planning. When people make mistakes, don’t blame or punish them.

4 Implement mentoring and coaching practices

It can be helpful for new employees to receive one-on-one guidance from more experienced colleagues.

5 Tips for spotting imposter syndrome

Keep an eye on colleagues who seem to be struggling or showing signs of anxiety. A tendency to overwork, withdrawal from team interactions, or habitual procrastination may be warning signs. Supporting and addressing these red flags begins with recognising them.

Newport has the fewest searches per 10,000 people per month for imposter syndrome, followed by Blackpool with two searches and Sunderland with three.

Interesting that these three cities are port cities – known for heavy industry, rather than services.

It may be less common in manufacturing and logistics sectors, where workers can see the concrete results of their efforts, as opposed to office work, where the results are often abstract.


Author ianh22

More posts by ianh22