Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern where individuals doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud” despite evidence of their competence. It’s a common phenomenon that affects professionals across various industries, regardless of their level of experience or expertise. However, the question often arises: Does imposter syndrome impact men and women equally?The answer isn’t straightforward. While imposter syndrome can manifest differently depending on individual experiences and societal expectations, research suggests that it affects both men and women, albeit in slightly different ways.Historically, imposter syndrome has been associated more prominently with women, especially in male-dominated fields. The pressure to prove oneself and break through stereotypes can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt. Women may feel they need to work harder to gain recognition and respect, leading to heightened anxiety about their abilities.On the other hand, men may also experience imposter syndrome, but they might express it differently due to societal norms and expectations. Men are often socialised to appear confident and self-assured, which can make it challenging for them to admit feelings of inadequacy or seek support. As a result, imposter syndrome among men may go unnoticed or unaddressed, leading to increased stress and burnout.The manifestation of imposter syndrome can vary based on cultural backgrounds, upbringing, and workplace dynamics. Factors such as race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, and socioeconomic status can intersect with gender to shape individuals’ experiences of imposter syndrome.In the workplace, fostering a culture of inclusivity and psychological safety is crucial for addressing imposter syndrome regardless of gender. Encouraging open dialogue, providing mentorship and support networks, and promoting a growth mindset can help individuals overcome feelings of self-doubt and realize their full potential.As HR professionals, it’s essential to recognize the prevalence of imposter syndrome and its impact on both men and women. By creating a supportive environment where employees feel valued and empowered to share their struggles, organisations can cultivate a more resilient and high-performing workforce.In conclusion, while imposter syndrome affects individuals of all genders, its manifestation and societal perceptions may vary. By acknowledging and addressing these differences, we can work towards building more inclusive workplaces where everyone feels validated and capable of achieving their goals. Let’s continue the conversation and strive for a workplace culture where imposter syndrome is recognised and overcome, regardless of gender.

Listen back to a discussion on this topic with Mandy Johnston on Newstalk.

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