According to Wikipedia, Imposter Syndrome is “a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved.”
This is a fairly convoluted explanation of a phenomenon that is surprisingly commonplace in offices around the country. A quick straw poll of a group of friends including an investment banker, a lawyer, a teacher and a journalist reveals that everyone regularly felt that, to a certain extent, they were “winging it” and that any moment, someone would find out their terrible secret: that they don’t really know what they’re doing.
The cliches say that it is mainly women who lack confidence at work and worry about Imposter Syndrome, while men are more likely to exaggerate their achievements and think they are better at their job than they actually are. Is this an outdated stereotype? Do women really suffer from Imposter Syndrome more than men?
Monica Parker, workplace director at Morgan Lovell
Kate Winslet, Maya Angelou, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg. Reading this list, you would naturally think “dynamic, successful, confident women”, and you would be correct. But all of these women also share another attribute: they all have imposter syndrome. All are women at the top of their game and yet they expect, at any time, to be discovered as a fraud…
Entrepreneur Hilary Devey CBE
Why should women be singled out for insecurity in the workplace? That just feels outdated. I would say that male members of my board suffer similar problems: I think both sexes are affected equally and it is simplistic to call it a women’s phenomena….