Imposter Syndrome and Leadership with Agile

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Natascha Speets
Natascha Speets

Natascha is always on the looking for opportunities to help her clients become the best version of themselves. She does this by integrating her professional coaching skills in everything she does.

Imposter Syndrome ? Tell me more

Imposter syndrome is a feeling of inadequacy, self-doubt, and insecurity that many leaders experience at some point in their career. It can be especially difficult to navigate when leading a team or organization in an agile environment. Agile teams require a leader who is able to think outside the box, take risks, and embrace failure. But for those struggling with imposter syndrome, it can be difficult to take on this type of leadership role.

In this article, we will explore the impact that imposter syndrome can have on leadership in agile, discuss the various types of imposter syndrome, identify common symptoms, and provide tips on how to overcome imposter syndrome and become a successful leader in agile.

First, let’s look at how imposter syndrome can impact leadership in agile. Imposter syndrome can cause a leader to second guess their decisions, doubt their abilities, and feel overwhelmed in the face of change.

Because Imposter syndrome leads us to undervalue our own expertise and impact, this may lead to individuals not taking on leadership roles, not advocating for themselves in the workplace, and not fully utilizing their skills and abilities. This can also lead to burnout and feelings of inadequacy. It can be important to recognize and address imposter syndrome in order to promote self-confidence and professional growth
 
This can be especially problematic in an agile environment, where change is constant and success is often measured in short cycles. Imposter syndrome can also lead to a fear of failure, which can prevent a leader from trying new ideas and taking risks.
 

There are several types of imposter syndrome that we might experience. The most common is the “perfectionist” type, which is characterized by an individual feeling like they must achieve perfection in order to be successful. Another type is the “expert” type, which is characterized by an individual feeling like they must always be a master in the field they are leading in order to succeed.

The “saboteur” type is characterized by an individual feeling that they are sabotaging their own successes, increasing self-doubt and may lead to indecisiveness, being stuck and unclear directions given to the teams.

Common symptoms of imposter syndrome include a fear of failure, a lack of confidence, difficulty accepting compliments, difficulty celebrating successes, and difficulty taking risks.

The imposter syndrome can be a obstacle to success as an leader

The problem is that people with imposter syndrome have a distorted, negative self-perception that affects their productivity and performance at work. As a leader, we can play an important role in normalizing these secretive thoughts and bringing them out of their place of stigma to create a more positive, inclusive, and collaborative culture.

Imposter syndrome affects people indiscriminately. But for leaders, overworking or giving up in the pursuit or avoidance of perfection can have a distinct detrimental effect on success. Additionally, a severe lack of trust can erode a leader’s relationships with their teams, customers, and partners.

How can we overcome imposter syndrome

Don’t forget Imposter syndrome can become a real obstacle to our success as Agile Leader !

To overcome imposter syndrome and become a successful leader with agile, leaders can start by recognizing that imposter syndrome is a normal feeling and it does not mean that they are not capable of being a successful leader. It is also important to recognize that failure is a natural part of the process and that it should not be viewed as a reflection of one’s capabilities.

Leaders should also focus on developing a growth mindset, practice self-affirmation, and learn to see mistakes as learning opportunities. Additionally, it can be helpful to build a support system of mentors and peers to help provide reassurance and guidance.

Finally, leaders should also be mindful of their self-talk and strive to think positively, focus on their accomplishments, and celebrate their successes.

Coaching can help leaders identify their blind spots, gain confidence, normalize failures, improve performance, establish more collaborative and productive relationships and, ultimately help them proudly maintain their rightful place in their organization.