As one of our core company values is collaboration, and in order to continuously improve, we wanted to discuss and address a potential barrier to collaboration which has been raised a few times; Impostor Syndrome.
Sometimes, there can be a fear of seeking help with a task or problem. The thought of asking for help can leave you exposed and vulnerable, paralysed by the fear that people will think you’re not good at your job or incapable of doing it. It can feel like there’s an expectation to know how to do everything, or be able to find out alone.
This isn’t the case. No matter who you are, what level, position, role, or how many years experience you have, you are not expected to know everything or be able to do everything.
This phenomenon is well researched and is known as Impostor Syndrome.
Essentially, it’s the feeling of being a fraud, or feeling you’ve not got your stuff together as much as everyone else.
The name kind of makes it sound like there’s something wrong, but there’s really not. The name also doesn’t give any clues as to how common this is. Research suggests that more than 70% of people will experience Impostor Syndrome at some point in their career. The majority of people, from CEOs to junior admins experience these doubts.
Digging a bit deeper, there are five kinds of Impostor Syndrome. If you’d like to read about each type (it can help to know more about your specific profile), there’s a useful article here.
Our challenge to everyone who may be suffering this lack of confidence is: have courage and ask for help. You will not be judged for asking for help. You are not expected to know everything. We all have different levels of experience and different areas of expertise. Asking for help doesn’t make you weak. It doesn’t mean you can’t do your job. It just means you are collaborating and learning, which you should be doing every day.
On the other side, we’d like to encourage everyone to be caring and offer help more often. Provide a non judgemental environment for your colleagues. Never ridicule anybody for a “stupid” question because there are no stupid questions. Just because you know something in a particular area and someone else doesn’t, it doesn’t make them inferior. Just be helpful.
Remember, everyone’s winging it, at least at some point. We are all impostors.