The mask at work

Very often we find ourselves in a role, or promoted, and we feel like an imposter, we are wearing a mask. Whilst we may know how to do our role, if we are expected to lead a team, work effectively alongside different peers, departments – and manage upwards, it can be tough.

So you may feel you are pretending, wearing a mask,  because on some level you realise you may need additional skills to not do your role, but manage some of the other responsibilities such as I have outlined above.

How does this feel? Often stressful because you are acting a role – rather than being who you are as a leader but perhaps a template, or cardboard cut-out of what you think a leader should look like.

Whether you’ve been in your role for two weeks, two months, or two years – if you feel like an imposter and are constantly scared of being ‘found out’, it can be worryingly demotivating and demoralising.  

Read through these thoughts to see if any of them sound familiar…

  • “I’m not as deserving/smart/professional/experienced/creative/talented as I should be to do this job.”
  • “Why can’t I be the real me at work, instead of always feeling like I’m wearing a mask?”
  • “I’m just not good enough, and I’m terrified of people finding out.”
  • “I was promoted into this role, but I feel like a fraud!”
  • “There’s too much for me to think about, and I’m struggling to keep my head above water trying to achieve everything I think is expected of me.”
  • “I was full of confidence in my skills and technical abilities before I was promoted into this role, now I feel like I don’t know what I’m doing.”
  • “I’m not worthy of this position!”

The important thing for you to remember is that YOU’RE NOT ALONE in having these thoughts – in fact, you might be surprised at just how many people who you think are cool, calm, and completely confident in their roles are actually feeling scared, lost, and panicked about whether or not they can perform.

Here are some questions you may wish to consider:

  • Are you leading with confidence, a purpose and vision?
  • Do you make time for your own self-development?
  • Do you actively engage and make time for your team?
  • Do you really need to know the answers to all the questions or are you heaping this on yourself?
  • Can you accept and learn from your mistakes?
  • Can you take advice and guidance from others who have been in this position?
  • Which leaders do you look up to and why?

It’s worth starting to think about these questions and the demands you may be putting on yourself. I have a free eBook on the subjects covered in this blog so contact me to get your free copy.