78% of business leaders experience imposter syndrome

New research from NerdWallet found that 78% of business leaders experience workplace imposter syndrome, causing 59% to consider leaving their role

Over three-quarters (78%) of surveyed business leaders reported experiencing imposter syndrome at work, with almost half (47%) reporting that they currently feeling it, according to new data from NerdWallet

The data also shared that imposter syndrome impacts work performance, relationships and self-doubt, to name a few. 

In contrast, the survey, which used a pool of 500 UK business leaders, found that only 22% said that they hadn’t experienced it at all, highlighting how common it is.

Connor Campbell, NerdWallet’s business finance expert says: “Imposter syndrome has proved to be prominent amongst business leaders and it shows that the pressures of a job can come with both professional and personal consequences.

Debunking the stigma around imposter syndrome 

Although there are still alarming levels of imposter syndrome in the workplace, the study did find that those experiencing it were likely to confide in their friends (69%) and family members (65%). What’s more, 51% of the business leaders shared that they would feel comfortable discussing feelings of imposter syndrome with their co-workers or other employees. 

“The results show that although business leaders are confiding in others about how they feel, there is an opportunity for companies to support their employees with feelings of doubt to ensure they are happy in their roles going forward,” Connor adds. 

Unfortunately, however, it seems that there is still a stigma surrounding the discussion of impostor syndrome within some sectors, with just 21% of respondents reporting that they had discussed these feelings with their peers or other business leaders.

What are the causes of imposter syndrome? 

Imposter syndrome can be triggered by many different factors, but research found that starting a new role was the most stressful (57%). This was closely followed by receiving praise in front of colleagues (55%), carrying out meetings with team members (49%), performance reviews (47%) and giving presentations in front of team members (44%). 

As a result, 59% of respondents had considered leaving their job because of imposter syndrome. 

Connor adds: “Dealing with imposter syndrome early may help businesses retain their talent – and keep employees in a job – as the UK economy faces economic uncertainty in 2023 and people think more about their personal circumstances.”


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