If you think you're just faking it until you make it, you're definitely not alone. Many of us think we're 'not good enough' or 'don't belong'.
If you feel inadequate, that you don’t belong or like you’re about to be ‘found out’ at work, you may be suffering from a widespread psychological phenomenon. These feeling are typical of ‘Impostor Syndrome’.
You’re in good company: Imposter Syndrome is ubiquitous - with Oscar winners, top athletes and bestselling authors all confessing to experiencing it. There’s a perception that Imposter Syndrome affects more women than men, but it’s not a gendered phenomenon: perhaps women are just more comfortable talking about it? Or perhaps they're just better a verbalising it.
In the workplace HR professionals need to be aware of this phenomenon as it can prevent the most talented, experienced or knowledgeable employees from applying for a promotion, contributing to a discussion or even asking for a pay rise. It can also hinder creativity or risk taking, if you doubt yourself, you are not likely to believe that someone else will welcome your ideas or suggestions.
I really like the term ‘discretionary effort’, to me it differentiates employees that are not just engaged in their business but those that are engaged and really invested in the success of their team, department and company. They show their level of engagement by consistently helping their colleagues, sharing, supporting, coaching, mentoring – all done without needing to be asked.
When someone starts working with a company - they are engaged. They want the job (they've normally gone through a long process to get the job); they want to work in that company and look forward to meeting and engaging with their new colleagues. Fast forward a few years (less than that in many cases) and that sparkle of engagement has diminished despite the new suggestion scheme or the free lunch on a Friday. So, what’s happened? What has changed? These are key questions for any business that values employee engagement.
In our experience one of the factors that seems to keep popping up is the internal customer experience. If your experience with colleagues is poor – poor communications, not sharing information appropriately, Chinese whispers etc. or if your experience of your managers and the company is poor - lack lustre induction process, no feedback system in place, favouritism etc. our research indicates that this is a key factor in undermining employee engagement. Time and time again we have been told how a lack of communication between departments, teams, managers and individuals is detrimental to the sense of an individual’s sense of fulfilment, success and achievement.