Confessions of a female tech CEO: How I beat impostor syndrome
Do you feel ‘good enough’ at your job? One CEO tells us how she boosted her self-belief – and you can too.
I spent years almost apologising that 'all I do is manage stuff.' For years I described myself as a project manager or a ‘technologist who also does a bit of management.’
My first couple of jobs were in tech and I was working with brilliant small businesses: I very quickly realised I wasn’t going to be better at them at what they did. I knew I was good at organising them, but a few people leapt on this as me being ‘good at admin’: I guess that stuck. As well as inspirational managers in my career, there are anti-heroes who I also learned a lot from.
When I left a job in difficult circumstances, it was the first turning point. My PA at the time made me a book of all the feedback from my team and beyond. I made myself absorb it for the first time and understand the positive impact I had had: I don’t think there is a silver bullet when it comes to building confidence in yourself but feedback from people you respect can help.
I’d advise others to start with ‘post-match’ debriefs with yourself – reflect on situations that went well and ones which could have gone better and really ask yourself ‘why?’ It also helps to find a coach or mentor that you can discuss this sort of stuff with.
I’d also recommend going through accredited training in your industry. I became a Chartered Manager through the Chartered Management Institute and that made me realise I was actually quite good. It allowed me to concentrate on my skills and I finally had the confidence to start listing my job title as ‘manager’.
Although I hate to admit it, I think some of the shallower stuff works too. The right outfit, the right power pose, the right entrance to a room – fake it ‘til you make it has some merit.
For more information about becoming a Chartered Manager, visit www.managers.org.uk/individuals/become-a-member/get-chartered