Beat Impostor Syndrome

Do you have impostors in your company? However hard it may be to tell, it’s worth your while to keep an eye out. Impostors holding back or burning out after overcompensating can directly affect your business.

Impostor Syndrome in software teams

Burn out is not the only negative effect to look out for. There is a number of harmful effects impostor syndrome can have on your software team:

The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser men so full of doubts” Bertrand Russel

How to spot an impostor

A cat among meerkats Can you spot the impostor?

Impostors will do their best to hide their true emotions from you as a colleague or team leader (after all, they don’t want to be found out), but there are some outward signs that you can look for. None of these necessarily indicate impostor syndrome, but when you notice enough of them, you might want to open up conversation:

Again, all these behaviours might have a myriad of valid or practical reasons. But observe enough of them in smart and experienced developers and it might be time for a chat.

Life is awesome when this thing called ‘work’ becomes another way of expressing the passions in your life. Nick Floyd

How to coach an impostor

Impostor syndrome is something we all have to deal with on our own to certain extent, but there are certainly ways in which you can help.

Most of all, it is important to give each other honest feedback and make sure there is always a clear example of how to make mistakes. Make it obvious what behaviour is considered successful and what isn’t, and your team members should be capable – maybe with some help – to learn and internalise these competency standards and truly flourish.

Remember you can lead the way in beatin impostor syndrome in your team by taking action yourself. You can also read more about how impostor syndrome works and there’s also some interesting reference material available.