Combating Imposter Syndrome: You Don’t Have to Be a Subject Matter Expert To Be An Effective Leader

Imposter Syndrome

One common myth that keeps many leaders stuck is the belief that you have to be an expert in your field to be an effective leader. It’s so easy to get caught up in feeling like we’re not good enough, we don’t know enough, or if we just learn a few more things, we’ll have all the skills we need to be ready for the role we’re in or the one we want. 

Maybe you think “Who am I to pursue this opportunity when I don’t know much about the role?” Or “I feel like a fraud; do I really belong here?”

We’ve all felt it. That feeling of imposter syndrome: feeling unprepared to be in a role even if we’re fully qualified for it. Often, we keep ourselves playing small, convinced we need to spend more time learning about multiple facets of the business to feel as though we belong in our role. 

Here’s the bottom line: You wouldn’t have a seat at the table if the organization didn’t believe you were adding value.

You’re Hurting Yourself By Staying Pigeonholed

Time and time again, I see leaders who feel they can only grow within their specific niche. Whether you’re a marketing professional looking to move into the finance world or vice versa, don’t stop yourself from pursuing a new opportunity because you’re not ‘the expert’ at everything.

Of course, having a base knowledge of the topic you want to move into is important. However, you don’t have to know all the technical aspects of the department to be effective in your role.

Consider this: the skills of leadership are different from the technical skills within your field. You don’t have to be technically proficient at something to be able to effectively lead others in that area.

Think About What You Bring To The Table

To have a well-rounded team, the other cohort members help pick up the “slack” in areas in which you may not be as strong. Likewise, your expertise will help round out the team; you bring experience and knowledge that other team members don’t have. 

Your background has taught you so much, and you’ll bring an entirely new perspective to the team. Whether you’re a new leader in your department or you’re completely new to the department itself, consider that you’ll bring any and all of the following things to your work:

  • New rigor, approach, or work-ethic
  • Expertise in client-facing relationships
  • New questions and ways of thinking, especially if you’re trying to learn about the work
  • Your problem-solving abilities might be more analytical or more creative than your colleagues

Your fresh perspective will benefit the entire business – don’t forget how much you bring to the table!

You are a Key Player

Let’s be real: your organization sees value in you and your potential to grow; otherwise, you wouldn’t be in your current role. It’s time to give yourself some credit and to lean into being comfortable and confident in knowing what you bring to the table.

Struggling to feel secure in your role? Questioning whether you’re capable of handling the challenges of your department? Our Leadership Accelerator VIP Day sessions can help you reframe your perspective and gain confidence in your leadership approach – all in the matter of an afternoon.

Combating imposter syndrome doesn’t have to be something you do alone. Let’s dismantle the self-doubt and change the way you lead your team.

Click here to book a call and ask about our Leadership Accelerator program.

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