The puzzling paradox successful employees face at work

The biggest obstacle that talented and successful employees often face that can make them unable to see their own successes? Imposter Syndrome.
By: | January 2, 2024

The workplace may seem like a place where people get to perform and get recognition for the work they do, but for Sho Dewan, CEO of Workhap, an interesting phenomenon occurs multiple times with individuals with the most skills, extensive experience and unparalleled talent: imposter syndrome.

“At work, there lies a puzzling paradox that I’ve observed time and again, not just in my journey as an entrepreneur, but also throughout my corporate career,” Dewan wrote for Forbes. “They focus on small tasks they haven’t finished and the failed projects, and completely forget about all the amazing things they have done.” While friends and colleagues would understand the inherent value of these employees, in most cases these successful employees would be too close to the action to notice their own input.  

Employees with fewer skills or less experience, on the other hand, are the ones who are more impulsive, as they are more likely to take chances and thus move forward in their careers, continued Dewan. It is evidence, he explained, that overthinking about the possibilities could be counterproductive. “If you’ve ever felt like an imposter, that means you’re probably more talented than you give yourself credit for.”

READ MORE: Rethinking how employees improve their strength skills

One way that employees could overcome self-defeating self-talk is by spending more time reflecting on accomplishments, Dewan suggested. “Make a habit of listing down your wins, big or small, from the last quarter, the last year, and even over the past five years. Celebrate your successes and recognise the positive impact of your work,” he said.