A community of technology community managers, leaders, and builders.

Imposter Syndrome


  1. Be honest with self about strengths / shortcomings
    reach out to mentors / colleagues

  2. Acknoweledge accomplishments
    what provided value to self / team / company
    some forum for recognition

  3. When you don’t know – it’s OK to say “I don’t know”

  4. Take time to research issues – a measurable action

  5. Non-imposter perspective, responsibility to encourage others
    Provide needed resources (book / guide / explicit “what I did”)
    Unconscious competency, avoid this attitude “I think I know everything, and
    everyone else should”

  6. Start people with area where they feel compentent
    Builds people’s confidence

Discussion starting with some of the intros

Apologies for those I missed, I started taking notes after the first few people introduced themselves


how to cut thorugh imposter syndrome
how to help potential speakers overcome their imposter syndrome

hear stoires

first job in tech industry

global rational user community –
- how people in multiple commuinities manage information

commuinity manager from non-tech industry
– community of non-tech tech people

    -- fear of communication

    -- feel uncertainty writing for devs

– wonder how people feel comfortable

see syndrome in people who code

– feel imposter syndrome in a talk about imposter syndrome

– “I don’t care, I know my limits” but aware of problem
forces himself to give talks

sees volunteers who get stuck in a role

– first full time job

Mentorship –
- when you know you’re delivering stuff to colleages that they can use
- doing something that others can’t do

Feeling like “I have to learn everything about tech”
- response “don’t put that much pressure on yourself”

Tech people feel like they have nothing to say to us
- tech people may not have the communication skills either

Need ability to go in to “touch base”

Start with a “Big white wall” –
– added props for people (congrats for an accomplishment)

Congratulate people for accomplishments
Use compassion / empathy to help with employee retention

Tool: "I done this"
method for teams to stay in touch with each other’s accomplishments


Pycon – talk from Jacob Caplan Moss
– Engineers expect genius results from selves

Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes
– relationships don’t end when people become mad

Show others how you solve problems – how to find the answers

If you feel like others should know
– “this is obvious” – makes imposter syndrome worse

    similar to http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?OrdersOfIgnorance

Many decisions quickly – can become overwhelming
Can lead to “Analysis Paralysis”

Example of a prof who doesn’t know the answer –
and walks away and thinks about it

It’s OK to say “I don’t know, but I’ll find out by time X”

Training people to do former job
They may have imposter syndrome too
You then become the mentor, helping them with imposter syndrome
"I remember feeling the same doubts"

Teaching can help with imposter syndrome

Effect of imposter syndrome – downplaying strengths

“define your terms” helps people avoid imposter syndrome

“I’ve been there”

Made a book of the essentials of the job
Wrote a second job description, “the real work”

Imposter talking to managers
solution: have personal conversations

Just read a definition rather than relying on the more casual self-definition I’ve relied on 'til now - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Impostor_syndrome. Wondering if there is a formal imposter syndrome, and then something less extreme that many feel. Is that simply humility (defined as ‘a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.’)?

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