#156 How to Avoid Imposter Syndrome in Your Team with Carrie Gallant, Author and Executive Leadership Coach

How to avoid imposter syndrome with Carrie Gallant on the GrowCFO Show with Kevin Appleby

Carrie Gallant is a dynamic speaker, author, coach and facilitator; she is a licensed associate of the Impostor Syndrome Institute. In this episode, Carrie discusses imposter syndrome and how it affects finance leaders with Kevin Appleby. Carrie shares how she got into studying imposter syndrome and how it can impact people differently based on gender and culture. Common feelings associated with imposter syndrome include feeling like a fraud or not being good enough.

Often, the finance leader might suffer from imposter syndrome, but it could just as easily be other members of the finance team. So, as a leader, how do you spot when this affects somebody on your team?

Some signs a leader should look out for in their team include underperformance, isolation, or holding back contributions. Strategies to overcome imposter syndrome include acknowledging feelings, focusing on facts and past successes, asking, “What if I felt confident?” and keeping a success journal. The conversation also covers how imposter syndrome can discourage people from applying for promotions or new jobs.

Signs of Imposter syndrome a leader should look out for

Carrie Gallant mentioned a few signs that a leader should look out for in their team that could indicate someone is experiencing imposter syndrome:

  • – Underperformance – If someone seems not to be performing to their full potential or up to the level expected.
  • – Isolation – If a team member appears more isolated from the rest of the team than others and not fully engaging or participating.
  • – Holding back contributions – Noticing if someone holds back from saying something, contributing ideas, or hesitating to take on responsibilities. This could be a sign they lack confidence.
  • – Surveys showing a lack of belonging – If organizational surveys find a team member has reported not feeling like there is a strong team atmosphere or that they entirely belong. A lack of belonging can contribute to lower confidence.

Key strategies for overcoming imposter syndrome

Some key strategies Carrie Gallant discussed for overcoming imposter syndrome include:

  • Acknowledging the feelings rather than ignoring them, which helps to normalize the experience.
  • Focusing on facts and looking at past successes, strengths, and accomplishments to provide a counterbalance to negative feelings.
  • Asking oneself, “What if I felt confident?” to shift perspective and think about what actions a confident person might take.
  • Keeping a “success journal” or “bank vault of value” to record achievements and positive feedback as a resource to consult when confidence is low.
  • Leveraging assessment tools like StrengthsFinder to understand better one’s natural talents and strengths to feel more competent in certain roles.
  • Having open conversations with managers using questions like “What’s holding you back?” and “What would you do if you felt confident?” for support and new perspectives.



Introducing Carrie Gallant (0:11)

The finance leader’s role is spotting the problem. (1:59)

Imposter syndrome and its impact on workplace performance. (6:11)

What are the leading causes of imposter syndrome? (11:47)

Job descriptions and hiring biases. (17:06)

Overcoming imposter syndrome in the workplace. (22:43)

Leadership development. (27:33)

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