A lot of people know the symptoms: feeling overwhelmed, unworthy, overly lucky, terror at being “found out.” If you’ve wrestled with Impostor Syndrome, you know the struggle is real—even when your lack of qualifications isn’t!
Impostor Syndrome is a pervasive sense of self-doubt, a belief that one’s successes have not been earned. While this insecurity can strike at any level of professional experience, research indicates that it is more common when starting a new endeavor, such as managing a new business.
In a recent article on Fast Company, writer and senior strategist Jackie Berkery shares four tips tailored for new managers dealing with confidence issues.
Claim Your Success
“Take time to contemplate what’s been accomplished and the role you played,” Berkery suggests. Acknowledge what your team did well, but also what you, as their manager, did to facilitate and foster that success. “When you don’t have a concrete sense of how your individual behaviors generate certain outcomes,” she points out, “you can’t learn from either your failures or your successes—and, for the record, the latter is just as important as the former.”
Vulnerability in Moderation
“The benefits of vulnerability get sidelined when your team hears you doubt your own management skills,” says Berkery. “Most of the time, your team needs someone who can inspire confidence, display composure and consistency, and lead by example. While there’s still ample room for showing empathy, owning your mistakes, and developing an approachable, open management style, expressing doubt in your abilities as a manager is not an effective strategy.”
Get Specific Positive Feedback
Receiving and responding to constructive criticism is an important part of growth. Positive feedback is an important part of the learning process too! “Ask for two to three specific things you’ve done that have been helpful or had a positive impact,” Berkery suggests.
Embrace a Growth Mindset
It’s OK that you don’t know it all yet! “There will be a learning curve and skills you need to develop over time. It’s only natural you’ll second-guess yourself along the way,” says Berkery. “Recognizing your imperfections while putting in the work to improve isn’t the same as the paralyzing downward spiral of self-doubt triggered by Impostor Syndrome. If you don’t feel confident in your abilities right now, be confident in your ability to learn and grow and just plain work hard instead. Confidence as a manager and leader will come.”
In another article, we discuss the value of a training and transition phase as well. When you buy a business, this phase is a great learning opportunity. The seller, as well as veteran employees, will often help you settle in. Take this chance to learn as much as you can. You got this!