A small helping of imposter syndrome for my executive team please!

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OK! I hold my hands up and admit it - I have a good helping of imposter syndrome lurking in my psyche! However, I usually try not to dwell on my insecurities and to harness the positive points; sometimes thinking that I am not as intelligent or as experienced as others can drive me on to great things.

The thing that is important is to try to distinguish one’s own insecurities from real weaknesses. Insecurities have the habit of becoming realities if left unchecked.

Recently, when watching the senior director of a global organisation deliver some of the worst presentations I have ever witnessed, it was interesting to observe that the  large audience of in-house senior managers were held captive and hanging off his every word (or at least doing an excellent job of appearing to do so). This phenomenon also appears to be true for some celebrities who reach a certain level of fame; it doesn’t seem to matter how good they are anymore, they are forever carried along on the tidal wave of success from their past glories. This is doubtless great for the individual but far less so for the organisation and those around them. I am sure that the director is highly competent in many other aspects of his role but it would seem key to the all round success of anyone performing at a high level, to be able to get up in front of large groups and communicate important information or to be able to motivate and rally a call to action in the people they have connections to.

Another thought that popped into my mind was of people in business being like horses. . . . . . bear with me now. . . . . Do horses think we all drive at 10 miles an hour? Well, that is all they get to witness as we slow down to overtake them. They don’t observe that when we are at a safe distance we begin to speed up. Was the director akin to the horse? If he received no contrary view of his performance how would he know that his presentation skills were not up to scratch?

So what is the moral of the story? If you don’t think you have a bit of imposter syndrome or its elements stalking you to some degree, let that be the call to action to ensure you get solid, constructive feedback from those around you to ensure you keep the Peter Principle at bay, at least until your next promotion!