In an article on BNET recently, Sean Silverthorne discussed a Harvard Business blog post by Gill Corkindale about a phenomenon she calls Imposter Syndrome. Briefly, this is something seen in managers on fast-track careers who have been promoted to roles that challenge their abilities. At some point, they feel like they’re not worthy of the position, like they’re an imposter.
Corkindale is quoted as saying “Despite support from their bosses and feedback showing they have great operational, strategic and people skills, they often seem beset with doubts.”
I don’t see a problem with this. My immediate thought was “If only all managers felt this from time to time.” Maybe it’s my line of work, but I’ve seen mostly the opposite: the I-Couldn’t-Possibly-Fail Syndrome.
Usually the people who are humble and self-aware enough to have doubts about their abilities are the very ones who are really good at management. It’s the ones who think they know it all that usually blunder their way through things.
It’s pretty normal to have doubts about management capability. It’s not a skill you can gauge by how well you know it-like a particular technology-because it’s ever-changing and is complicated by the unknowns of employee behaviors.
But if you have doubts regularly, maybe it’s something to be concerned with. At some point, you need to speak to someone and maybe get an objective view of your performance.