Not a Fraud
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People can sometimes develop feelings of being a fraud and inadequate when starting a new job – a phenomenon described as “imposter syndrome.”
Researcher Basima Tewfik analyzed four studies that looked into how imposter syndrome affected the performance and interpersonal skills of more than 3,600 employees.
The findings showed that employees questioning their worth were highly likely to be good team players with strong social skills. In the case of physician trainees, the individuals with imposter syndrome were considered to be more empathetic and had better relations with their patients.
Tewfik noted that the self-doubting workers also performed well in their jobs and their productivity wasn’t affected.
“People who have workplace impostor thoughts become more other-oriented as a result of having these thoughts,” she said. “As they become more other-oriented, they get evaluated as being higher in interpersonal effectiveness.”
She added that the syndrome is not permanent, but can be detrimental to a person’s self-worth – particularly in cases where an employee doesn’t have interpersonal interaction.
The author recommended that the nature of what constitutes workplace-related imposter thoughts may need to be reassessed.
“What I don’t want people to take away is the idea that because people with imposter thoughts are more interpersonally effective, it’s not a problem,” said Tewfik.