Achieving Your Full Potential

Feeling  UncertainNewly promoted managers can suffer from self-doubt and may worry that they are not be good enough to succeed in their new role. This phenomenon – sometimes called “imposter syndrome” can become a self-fulfilling prophesy, unless it is tackled head on.

The term “imposter syndrome” was first used by clinical psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes in 1978. It describes the effect of worrying that you do not deserve the success you have achieved and may be less good than others think you are. Your inner voice tells you that you are a fraud and will be found out.

If this inner voice gets too strong, then new managers start to suffer a drop in self-confidence that actually stops them from performing or learning effectively. In other words, if not tackled head on, imposter syndrome will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Some tips to help you overcome “imposter syndrome”:

1. Control your reaction.
A mildly stressful situation results in blood being diverted to the pre-frontal cortex of your brain. This allow your brain to respond quickly and decisively. But if you become too stressed the blood goes to your arms and legs, which may be good for running or fighting (the fight or flight response) but is not good for problem solving or rational decision making.

When you are placed in a challenging situation make a conscious effort to take longer and slower breaths. It can also help if you think about an example of when you succeeded at doing something similar, or if what is stressing you is new, to visualise the positive outcome you want.

2. Practice living in the present.
Mindfulness is a way of dealing with stress and anxiety. It involves becoming aware of the present moment and focusing on your thoughts, your feelings and sensations in a compassionate and attentive way. By becoming aware of what you are thinking and understand how your own thought processes work, you can focus on solving a particular issue and stop negative or irrational thoughts taking over.

3. Get support.
Managers in challenging situations find it very helpful to get coaching from their colleagues or a mentor. A good coach will challenge your self-perceptions and support you in making positive changes to achieve your goals.

So next time imposter syndrome strikes you, don’t worry too much. Remember that good managers are human beings and a little self-doubt is an inevitable part of wanting to do well and of being human!