3 minute read

From Self-Doubt to Leadership: 7 Techniques for First-Time Managers to Defeat Imposter Syndrome

I am opening up here but I have to admit I always had imposter syndrome, it's been a companion for years. As a BIPOC women, an immigrant, I always felt like I had to work harder and smarter than everyone else.

I always thought it was a feeling I had to fight, until I read "Think Again" by Adam Grant and learned to embrace it.

Imposter syndrome is a common psychological pattern where individuals doubt their skills, talents, or accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a "fraud."

This feeling is especially prevalent among first-time managers in startups, where the pressure to perform can be intense.

Recognize the Challenge

If you're a new manager and these feelings resonate with you, you're not alone.

But the good news is that imposter syndrome doesn't have to hold you back. These are the tips that helped me overcome mine, and hopefully will help you with yours:

1. Recognize and Acknowledge the Feeling

Understand that imposter syndrome is a common experience, especially among new leaders. Acknowledging it is the first step toward overcoming it. Just put a name on it: You might have imposter syndrome.

2. Seek Feedback and Support

Don't be afraid to ask for feedback from peers, mentors, or team members. Support from others can provide validation and encouragement. Feedback is how we learn and grow. Personally, I found the power of a community of peers to be immensely valuable, and that's why we launched the Managers' Hive, a community for people managers in startups coming together to support each other!

3. Focus on Your Strengths

Identify and leverage your unique strengths and abilities. Remember, you were chosen for this role for a reason.

4. Set Yourself Realistic Expectations

Understand that nobody knows everything, and it's okay to ask questions or seek help when needed.

5. Celebrate Your Wins

Take time to recognize and celebrate your achievements, no matter how small. This helps build confidence.

6. Develop a Growth Mindset

Embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and learning. A growth mindset fosters resilience and adaptability. Adam Grant put it in a great format in the tweet below:

7. Practice Self-Compassion

Be kind to yourself and recognize that perfection is unattainable. Focus on continuous improvement rather than perfection.

Lead with Confidence

By implementing these techniques, you can transition from self-doubt to a position of confident leadership. Remember, feeling like an imposter doesn't make you one. Embrace your role, trust in your abilities, and lead with confidence.

I even managed to turn it into my superpower. When I feel like I don't know what I am doing, I go back to "I know I'll figure it out" and I get to work!

And if You Need a Little Confidence Boost, Give Waggle a Try

If you're looking to further enhance your leadership skills and overcome imposter syndrome, consider Waggle.

Waggle is an AI co-pilot for remote and hybrid teams, automating management admin, delivering timely nudges, and coaching in real-time to help you lead and support your team effectively, every day. It's designed with start-up managers in mind, offering features like task automation, behavioral nudges, and AI-driven feedback.

Whether you're a first-time manager looking to build the behaviors of great leaders or an experienced manager who wants support putting management best practice into practice, Waggle is there to help you develop and perform in your role while you help your team do the same in theirs.

You've got this! Get early access to Waggle and put management best practice on auto-pilot.

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