Theatre Mask Icon Imposter Syndrome


Tuesday 3 September, 2019

Imposter syndrome is a unique condition that was first identified by psychologists in the 70s. People with imposter syndrome may feel undeserving of their success and fear being uncovered as a ‘fraud’. We commonly hear about very high profile individuals and celebrities suffering from imposter syndrome. Meryl Streep, Albert Einstein, Tom Hanks, Michelle Obama and Kate Winslet are all said to have struggled with the condition at some point.

Away from the limelight though, people all around us in the workplace may be suffering from the very same syndrome. Imposter syndrome can hold you back and prevent you from reaching your full potential, so it’s important to know the symptoms to look out for and how to overcome it.


Imposter syndrome can cause sufferers to feel overcome by anxiety about their abilities and competence, preventing them from making a realistic assessment of themselves. Signs and symptoms of imposter syndrome can include:

  • Feelings of inadequacy.
  • Self-doubt.
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Fear of being exposed as a ‘fraud’.
  • Feeling undeserving of success.
  • Fear that success is a result of luck rather than ability.

When people suffering from imposter syndrome experience further success, it can often heighten their anxiety. This is because they feel that their deception has only intensified, causing them to fear being found out even more.


Imposter syndrome can affect people from all walks of life in a wide range of different industries and roles. Gaining success at work or being offered a new challenge such as a promotion can trigger imposter syndrome. Whilst it is possible for anyone to suffer from the syndrome, it is thought to be particularly common amongst high-achieving women.


Imposter syndrome in the workplace can affect an individual’s mental wellbeing at work and prevent them from reaching their full potential. Just a few of the ways that the condition can affect performance and progression in the workplace include:

  • Create job dissatisfaction.
  • Create unnecessary pressure.
  • Prevent an individual from taking on new opportunities or responsibilities.
  • Prevent an individual from asking for a pay rise.
  • Cause an individual to overwork and become at risk of burning out.


Here at the Civil Service College, we offer a course that can help you to gain a better understanding of what imposter syndrome is, the effect it has in the workplace, and how best to combat the condition. The course offers practical tips and techniques to help you to deal with imposter syndrome and start achieving your full potential.

To find out more about our course ‘overcoming the imposter syndromeor to book onto the course, give us a call on 020 8069 9000.



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