Many high-achieving leaders suffer from a confidence issue they are not aware of — and that can derail the performance of their teams and their own careers.
In Beating the Impostor Syndrome, newly released by CCL Press, executive coaches Portia Mount and Susan Tardanico explore a dynamic that has affected world-class leaders and artists from Lean In author and Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg and creative genius Maya Angelou to actors Meryl Streep, Will Smith, and Tina Fey.
Mount and Tardanico estimate that two-thirds of the more than 100 executives they have coached struggle with Impostor Syndrome, which occurs when successful and intelligent professionals feel they have faked their way to success.
“It can knock careers off track and also harm team morale and organizational performance through micromanagement, slow decision-making, and perfectionism.”
Flawed personal beliefs about success, failure, and self-worth lie at the root of the problem. Beating the Impostor Syndrome takes readers through a 4-step process for overcoming this debilitating mode of thinking.
“It takes emotional honesty, introspection and feedback from others to achieve the self-awareness and self-acceptance needed to combat Impostor Syndrome,” says Tardanico, CEO of the Authentic Leadership Alliance and executive in residence at CCL.
“But the time and energy invested produce substantial dividends in terms of health, outlook, and performance.”
Based on CCL research and extensive experience with clients, the 4 steps Mount and Tardanico recommend for battling Impostor Syndrome include:
1. Focus on the Facts: Look back over your career and objectively assess your achievements, specifying the challenges you faced, the accomplishments you experienced and the skills, capabilities and qualities that helped you succeed.
2. Challenge Your Limiting Beliefs: Examine your deep-seated beliefs about criteria for success. Then, look for facts or examples to test whether these criteria are actually valid, and how they might hold you back.
3. Get Clear on Your Strengths: Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, make an inventory of your strengths, listing at least 10 things you do well and reflecting on how to leverage them more fully.
4. Talk About It: Have conversations with trusted friends, advisers and executive coaches about your self-perceptions that reinforce the positive changes you are making.
Get Beating the Imposter Syndrome for more details on fighting it.