Newly published research connecting the dots between mindset and imposter phenomenon in working adults
Imposter syndrome, also known as impostorism, is a psychological occurrence in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud. People who experience it often have feelings of self-doubt and a sense of personal incompetence that persist despite their education, experience and accomplishments. To counter these feelings, people often might end up working harder and holding themselves to ever higher standards. This can often lead to a vicious cycle of self criticism (and who needs that on top of everything else, quite frankly?). It’s not fun to feel like an imposter. A growth mindset may help.
A lot has been written about imposter syndrome in the last few years but the good news is, new research shows new ways to manage it. Research shows that a ‘growth mindset’ could hold the imposter-remover-shaped-key to overcome unhelpful feelings of self doubt.
First, what do we mean by a ‘growth mindset’?
Psychologist Carol Dweck coined the terms ‘fixed mindset’ and ‘growth mindset’ to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence.
- Fixed mindset is the belief that skills and abilities are inherent traits (things you either have or don’t have). It often leads to the desire to prove yourself, fear of failure, resistance to feedback, and suboptimal performance.
- Growth mindset is the belief that skills and abilities are largely a result of learning and effort. It generally leads to high levels of effort, persistence, creativity, learning and performance.
A growth mindset embraces failure, learns from it and persists when faced with setbacks. Inherent in this, is a sense that no one is perfect which is useful for managing those feelings of being an imposter. A growth mindset accepts that everyone is learning and that criticism is part of that journey.
Recently published research in organisational psychology used a randomised control trial and showed that people with a fixed mindset tended to experience more imposter syndrome at work. Importantly, the results did not place all the responsibility on the individual to “fix” their imposter syndrome. The research showed that cultivating a workplace culture that promotes psychological safety and a growth mindset can alleviate imposter syndrome among employees. Furthermore, this had the potential to improve employee well-being and overall performance.
So next time you or someone in your team is having ‘impostery’ feelings, reflect on how much of a growth mindset is being encouraged in your workplace.
If you, or someone you know, is experiencing imposter syndrome, Hey Lemonade offer an ‘Imposter syndrome remedy‘ pep talk to help you reframe your perspective into more of a growth mindset. Subscribe to the app today to have a listen, or gift it to someone you think might benefit.
Read the original research article here
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