Imposter syndrome: a danger for businesses

Do you know about imposter syndrome? It is about this famous feeling of imposture which leads us to deny the legitimacy of our merit. It manifests itself in the form of a vicious circle on a daily basis, causing avoidance through fear of failure, or perfectionism to secure one’s position. This situation can have unfortunate repercussions on companies and on the credibility of managers.

Companies sometimes try to retain their high-performing employees by showing their confidence, for example by granting an internal promotion, without necessarily verifying management skills and without offering the necessary training. The promoted employee may even doubt the legitimacy of this decision and feel like an imposter.  And often the one who suffers from it doesn’t talk about it. He feels a discomfort that he cannot name, which he tries to resolve through a series of behaviors. He consciously or unconsciously cultivates the fear of being “unmasked” by employees and superiors.

Imposter syndrome mainly affects self-esteem at the relational and identity level, just as it affects self-confidence at the level of skills and abilities. The risks for the organization are:

  • The manager does not fully use his potential
  • The manager voluntarily slows down his motivation and his investment
  • The manager does too much not to be unmasked and becomes exhausted
  • The manager does not evolve in his skills
  • The manager is focused on himself rather than his duties
  • The manager makes hasty decisions under fear

How to prevent your managers from experiencing imposter syndrome?

Have the potential of your next-generation employees assessed by a certified coach: evaluate their management skills and help them further develop their key skills. The coach has an external and neutral view of the situation and becomes a scout. He can also be a teacher in terms of skill development or even a sponsor in terms of identity, credibility, assurance and self-confidence.

Imposter syndrome is much more common in business than you think.  We must become aware of it and learn to recognize it. With a keen eye and the right steps to follow, you can easily prevent uncomfortable situations for the manager and employees. We bet the whole team will be grateful to you. ;)


Médina Cayer

Managing Director, Co-Founder & Partner

Accredited professional coach & approved trainer

Certified management consultant

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