Imposter Syndrome at a New Job

5 Hacks to Overcome Imposter Syndrome at a New Job

At some point in their career, managers and leaders experience the feeling that they don’t belong. This feeling is called imposter syndrome, caused by a deep sense of self-doubt and insecurity, resulting in anxiety and distress. Though it is normal for a job entrant to encounter imposter syndrome, it can transform into a severe problem if it persists long. This blog will help you understand what imposter syndrome is and provide tips on overcoming it. This blog will help you understand imposter syndrome and its various types and advice on overcoming it. Finally, this blog will provide resources to help you take your career to the next level!

What is Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace?

Starting a new job can be daunting, but it’s important to remember that it’s just a stepping stone on the journey to success. One of the common challenges new managers face is imposter syndrome at work. Imposter syndrome is a condition that many experiences when starting, and it’s characterized by feelings of insecurity and self-consciousness about one’s abilities. Studies have demonstrated it to be highly prevalent.

Impostor syndrome is a term that refers to the fear of being judged or thought of as incompetent because one thinks they do not deserve their position. Managers experiencing imposter syndrome at work often feel that they are incompetent and phony as compared to their peers. This can range from feeling like you don’t belong in your job to feeling like you’re never good enough; imposter syndrome can have a debilitating impact on personal and professional life. They may also doubt themselves and become self-conscious about their accomplishments.

5 Types of Imposter Syndrome Managers Need to Know

illustration showing the different types of imposter syndrome in the workplace
The Perfectionist

The tendency to be a perfectionist goes hand in hand with imposter syndrome. People who undergo imposter syndrome attempt to overcome it by resorting to perfectionism. Perfectionists often set unrealistic expectations for themselves and attach immense value to every part of the task. Resultantly, even a small failure appears like a huge issue to them and carries a significant impact.

In such situations, they start worrying about their abilities and question their worth, erupting from moments of significant self-doubt. Therefore, they try to control every single part of operations and can become a micromanager to achieve the same level of perfection with their teams. In the end, perfectionism prevents them from enjoying the fruits of their success.

The Natural Genius

Another common characteristic of people who experience imposter syndrome is the belief that they are born with natural genius. They feel that they are born natural geniuses and essentially should be able to overcome any challenge that comes their way. Consequently, any struggle in the face of difficulties can throw them off. These individuals do not see themselves as a work in progress. Instead, they are already supposed to be at the peak of everything they do and try to get things done on the first attempt. It also manifests in an inability to develop a habit of continuous learning. Even though most people have a few innate talents and skills, many feel like they’re not capable of developing others.

The Individualist

Another common thread in people who experience imposter syndrome is the belief that they are born as rugged individualists. They despise anyone or anything that tries to tell them what to do and often take a lone wolf approach when working with others. This makes it difficult for them because they need help following norms of behavior and communicating effectively with teams. Moreover, asking for help, even when needed, is extremely hard for them. Their natural inclination towards self-reliance can also be their biggest downfall because they exert too much control over themselves and their workplaces, eventually leading to conflicts, accidents, or even failures.

The Expert

Many people who experience imposter syndrome also feel like they always need to be experts in whatever they’re doing. These people feel the need to know everything about everything. There is no limit to the amount of information you can be expected to know. Before doing any task, they are sure to spend a substantial amount of time finding as much information as possible about the activity. With all the knowledge at their disposal, they take steps further. Otherwise, they fear that somehow people will understand that they do not know enough – effectively exposing them as fake.

The Superhero

Another common thread for people who experience imposter syndrome is the belief that they must be a superhero to succeed. They push themselves harder than everyone else to prove they deserve their positions. They feel like they need to do everything themselves without help from others. Personal expectations of such people often stay above the expectations set by others for them. As a result, they frequently overwork and are prone to burnout. It can also lead them into self-imposed traps where they become so focused on achieving the goals that they neglect other areas of their lives. Many times these individuals do more harm than good because of it.

What are the signs of imposter syndrome at a new job?

There are a few ways to tell if you might be dealing with imposter syndrome at a new job. One of the first indicators is when you feel like you don’t belong in any social group. You often find yourself feeling awkward and out of place around people who seem more confident than you. In addition, self-doubt can dictate how well or poorly you perform in various situations related to your work or daily routine.

Imposter syndrome at work is also common among people with low self-esteem in their earlier years, especially if they feel they did not measure up to what others expected. High-achievers are more likely to experience imposter syndrome than the rest. To prevent imposter syndrome from significantly impacting your professional life, you can begin by identifying the signs of imposter syndrome so that you can take action accordingly.

  • Self-doubt
  • Setting unrealistic expectations for yourself
  • Feeling inadequate
  • Not accepting compliments, not celebrating wins
  • Inability to have faith in your ability
  • Feeling that your accomplishments were just a matter of luck
  • Negative self-talk
  • Extreme worry about your perception
  • Overworking yourself to prove your worth
You can check out a few examples of imposter syndrome at work listed here to understand it better:

  • Downplaying Achievements: An employee consistently dismisses their successes, attributing them to luck or external factors rather than acknowledging their own capabilities.
  • Overworking: Despite being well-regarded and achieving high performance, an individual feels the need to constantly work long hours or take on excessive tasks to prove their worth.
  • Avoiding Recognition: When receiving praise or awards, a person deflects or avoids recognition, believing they don’t deserve the acknowledgment.
  • Fear of Exposure: An employee fears that their colleagues or superiors will eventually discover that they lack the skills or qualifications they’re perceived to possess.
  • Comparing to Others: Constantly comparing oneself to colleagues and feeling inadequate, even when their own achievements are significant.

How does imposter syndrome affect your professional life?

Imposter syndrome can significantly impact your professional life if you let it. High-achievers who experience imposter syndrome often feel like they don’t belong in their field and are not good enough. It can lead to self-doubt regarding decision-making, performance reviews, and other critical aspects of your job. Additionally, imposter Syndrome often neglects other areas of your life, such as personal relationships or health. You can note the significant impact of imposter syndrome at work in these areas:

  • You doubt your accomplishments
  • You do not apply for roles until you meet each criteria mentioned
  • You overwork yourself
  • Taking help is a big no; you do everything yourself
  • You ensure that everything is perfect yourself
  • Failures throw you off track massively
  • You cannot accept praise or celebrate wins

How to overcome imposter syndrome in a new job?

Accept that imperfections exist

The first step to overcoming imposter syndrome for managers and leaders is accepting that imperfections exist. When you are a new manager, you will begin with a vision to ensure that everything needs to be perfect. However, pragmatism will help you much more than perfectionism in becoming successful. Acknowledging failures as an essential part of your journey that provides challenges and lessons is essential to growth in managers.

The key is managing the expectations that you hold for yourself. You need to ensure that your demands are not jeopardizing your career or health in the longer run. Instead, your choices should help you foster nutritional standards that lead to your growth and help you influence your team members to follow suit too.  

Note your progress

While imposter syndrome might force you to be your best self at the very outset of a new job, it is okay to learn as you go! Understand that new jobs present many opportunities to learn, explore and try the best ways to do things. In a managerial or leadership role, you will learn many lessons with the experience of overcoming challenges.

One of the most effective ways to overcome imposter syndrome is by taking regular self-accounting. This means keeping track of your accomplishments and how each milestone has impacted you positively and negatively. Doing this on a monthly, weekly, or even daily basis can help you measure progress and identify areas for improvement. Regular reflection helps you stay motivated through difficult times.

Facing challenge in accountability? Get a workplace accountability partner! Learn more here.

Celebrate your wins – big or small

If you suffer from imposter syndrome, you might find it hard to celebrate your achievements. You might feel that you do not deserve the accolades as you needed to work harder to achieve those things, or that small matter which did not turn not cent percent accurate might be dampening your success. However, acknowledging and celebrating your successes is essential.

Celebrating your wins will help you stay positive. When things are going well, and you have accomplished something great, take the time to acknowledge it. This might be as simple as writing down what went well or sharing your achievements with a trusted colleague or friend. Celebrating small victories can help build self-confidence and momentum for future endeavors.

Be compassionate to yourself

It is essential to be compassionate to yourself when you are dealing with imposter syndrome. Remember that you are not alone, and everyone goes through different phases in their career journey. Challenges are a part of the experience of becoming a manager and growing into the role. Recognize that there might be certain things about your job- or yourself- which make it difficult to feel confident. Allow yourself the space and time needed to work through these challenges without judgment or self-blame.

To start leaving tendencies resulting from imposter syndrome, you can start working on delegation and shared leadership. When you are able, try using self-compassion practices such as breathing exercises, writing down your thoughts and feelings, establishing a personal action plan, or talking with a trusted advisor/friend about how they have overcome similar beliefs.

Seek help

If imposter syndrome is impacting your work or personal life, seeking professional help may be helpful. A therapist could work with you on developing a personalized treatment plan based on your individual experiences and challenges. Additionally, self-help books can offer strategies for dealing with imposter syndrome healthily. Before that, you can also share your concerns with your close confidantes to ease your mind and then take the following steps towards healing.

How to deal with imposter syndrome at work?

Imposter syndrome can be challenging but overcoming it will be worth it in the long run. If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome at work, there are some steps you can take to overcome it. The first step is recognizing that imposter syndrome is a natural phenomenon and can affect anyone at any job. Next, be sure to take some steps to self-compassion. This includes acknowledging that you’re not alone in your struggles and that resources are available to help you. Building relationships with your co-workers is also essential. Be open and honest about your weaknesses; let them know you’re looking for guidance and feedback. Remember that everyone feels nervous at first, so don’t be discouraged!

Additionally, you can look for coaches to help you overcome imposter syndrome at a new job. Leadership coaching helps new managers overcome the typical issues relating to their professional life. An imposter syndrome coach can be a good bet to help yourself in this situation. The key is finding the right coach and building a great relationship with them.

If the prospect of handling imposter syndrome with a natural person is throwing you off, Risely has got you covered! Risely is an AI-based leadership coaching platform that helps managers and leaders unleash their full potential. Designed with new managers in mind, it offers regularly timed help and resources to overcome the challenges of a new manager’s job. It will help you understand yourself better so that you can use and strengthen your skills rapidly. Sign up for Risely right now here!


It can be tough to start your new job, let alone feel like you need to be up to the task. However, with the help of this guide, you can start to overcome imposter syndrome and feel confident in your abilities. By understanding the different types of imposter syndrome and knowing how to deal with them, you can feel more confident in your work and yourself. Keep reading to learn more about overcoming imposter syndrome and start feeling at ease in your new job!

Take your first step towards overcoming imposter syndrome at a new job.

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Imposter Syndrome in the Workplace FAQs

What is imposter syndrome at work?

Impostor syndrome at work refers to the psychological phenomenon where individuals doubt their own achievements, skills, and abilities despite evidence of their competence. They fear being exposed as frauds and believe their accomplishments are due to luck rather than their capabilities.

What causes imposter syndrome?

Impostor syndrome can arise from various factors, including perfectionism, unrealistic self-expectations, early experiences of criticism, high levels of self-criticism, and comparison with others. A demanding work environment, fear of failure, and lack of acknowledgment for achievements can also contribute.

How to overcome imposter syndrome at work?

A few steps to deal with imposter syndrome at work are:
Recognize the Phenomenon: Acknowledge that impostor syndrome is common and that many high-achieving professionals experience it.
Challenge Negative Thoughts: Identify and challenge self-doubting thoughts with evidence of your achievements and capabilities.
Embrace Mistakes: Embrace failures as learning opportunities. Nobody is perfect, and mistakes are part of growth.

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