Impostor Syndrome

Impostor Syndrome from Sigmoid Consulting

By: Sigmoid Consulting  06-May-2014
Keywords: Professional Development, Team Building, Personal Development

“Leadership is not complicated. For me, it starts with being true to yourself and having the confidence to be who you are, wherever you are. The real challenge is to find yourself in the first place. ‘The Impostor Syndrome’ speaks directly to everyone trying to find the defining line between ‘the real me’ and ‘the me others expect me to be’ and it does so with style, humour and plenty of sound advice.” – Sir Henry van der Heyden, Chairman, Auckland Airport When Sir John Kirwan talked openly and with integrity about depression he made himself vulnerable and inspired others to follow his lead. By making himself human and setting an example, Kirwan epitomised the qualities of authentic leadership and brought to light a purpose and a cause that many rallied behind. Leading teams and individuals is challenging; becoming an authentic leader, even more so. No wonder so many reach for the safety of the ‘impostor’s mask’ and adopt a leadership style that fits with others’ perceptions of what a leader should be, rather than expressing all those unique qualities that make them the leader that they truly are. Leadership expert and clinical psychologist Harold Hillman (left) has been leading and coaching teams within organisations for several decades, and knows an impostor when he sees one. He has lived the impostor experience a few times, personally and professionally, and knows what it feels like to live outside his comfort zone. Imagine being one of only a handful of African-Americans among a predominantly white elite at an Ivy League University or a middle manager who suddenly finds himself stretched to capacity when promoted to a pivotal executive role in a major corporate. Welcome to Harold Hillman’s world and that of the impostor syndrome. Impostor Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon that can strike at any time, but one which is particularly common amongst perfectionists and those on the professional fast-track. Leaders of this type will invariably externalise their success, feel out of their depth and fraudulent when stretched professionally; wondering when someone will figure out that they’re just not up to the task.And that’s when they will hit their ‘default’ button and reach for the ‘impostor’s mask.’ Better to play it safe, minimise failure and look good rather than take risks, be unafraid of failure and vulnerable. About the author: Harold Hillman was born in Washington D.C. and educated at Harvard University where he graduated with a Master’s Degree in Education, and the University of Pittsburgh, where he completed a PhD in Clinical Psychology. He assumed many top level roles in the US, including Chief Aviation Psychologist, Myrtle Beach Air Force Base (South Carolina); Director Amoco Management Learning Centre, and General Manager of Amoco Marketing University, Amoco Corporation (Chicago); and Corporate Vice President & Chief Learning Officer, Prudential Financial (New York). Harold Hillman migrated to New Zealand in 2003 to join Fonterra, helping them to realise their vision of becoming the global leader in the dairy industry. He initially worked as the Interim Group HR Director on the Fonterra Leadership Team and then in the role for which he was recruited, as Director of Talent & Organisational Development. He launched Sigmoid in December 2006, a company specialising in leadership development, executive coaching and talent management. The Impostor Syndrome is his first book.

Keywords: Business Coaching, Career Coaching, Impostor Syndrome, Management Book, Personal Development, Professional Development, Team Building,