Panel Discussion on Imposter Phenomenon

Tarquin Bennett-Coles, Senior Partner at SCi Partners, joined a panel discussion on Imposter Phenomenon during the “Building Life Science Adventures” conference organised by One Nucleus. Led by Kate Atkin, whose PhD thesis focused on the phenomenon, the panel delved into the intricacies of Imposter Phenomenon and its impact on career progression.

During the discussion, Kate Atkin emphasised the significance of using the term “imposter phenomenon” over “imposter syndrome,” highlighting that it better explains a common sensation experienced by many individuals without implying a persistent condition.

The panelists, including David Cronk, COO of Domainex, and Jon Green, Director of Unity Campus, Cambridge, explored various factors contributing to imposter phenomenon. These factors ranged from insecurity surrounding qualifications to issues stemming from personal backgrounds and the challenge of perfectionism.

In offering strategies for coping with imposter phenomenon, the panelists provided valuable insights, including:

  • Understand that we are all different and can all contribute. Degree apprenticeships are a great pathway for more practically orientated people and you shouldn’t feel inadequate for taking a different path.
  • When applying for jobs, give examples of your skills and qualities in action. Get references of how you have succeeded, especially when starting out. Keep a record of testimonials and details of success.
  • Get someone else to look at your CV to remind yourself of things you might have missed.
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. Find a comparison where you are better than others and be careful when looking at social media. Focus on your own progress and be kind to yourself.
  • In an interview, recognise that it is acceptable to ask for more information to fully and accurately answer a question – it doesn’t mean you have failed the interview.
  • Positive feedback is often verbal and gets forgotten. Store these pieces of positive feedback and use them to overcome imposter phenomenon. Review them regularly. 
  • Acknowledge success – it’s not wrong to do so. This is how other people see you. Isn’t it arrogant to believe yourself over others?
  • Appreciate that EQ is just as important as IQ – reading the room, working well with colleagues, all helps. Get examples of EQ onto your CV.
  • Beware of perfectionism. An excellent book on this is ‘The Pursuit of Perfect’.

Leadership Strategies for Overcoming Imposter Phenomenon in Teams

Leadership strategies to combat imposter phenomenon were also discussed. The panel recommended regular praise for accomplishments, with an emphasis on specificity to avoid fostering perfectionism. They advised against generic praise and highlighted the importance of public recognition for positive contributions.

The panel provided a comprehensive overview of Imposter Phenomenon and offered practical advice for both individuals and leaders to navigate its effects in the workplace.

Stay Connected

More News...