You Didn't Get the Director Job. Imposter Syndrome

Oct 02, 2021

You are meeting with senior leaders about the product roadmap. One of them asks you a question you cannot answer. You freeze. You start to panic. Your response is flustered and a bit incoherent.


One of the key things that hold us back from moving into product leadership is imposter syndrome.


This is what it looks like…

...You don’t want to disagree with a leader

...You are fearful of presenting the vision to your stakeholders

...You are unsure about how to manage the cross-functional team effectively

...You remain silent when there are significant decisions to be made

...You don’t push the boundaries

...You assume others are right and you are wrong


The challenge is imposter syndrome STOPs you from growing your career. Your colleagues see you as not being decisive. You are told you are not ‘assertive enough.”


Your confidence plummets.


Stress and anxiety increase.


And it starts to impact every part of your life. I talk to product managers who are having major health issues due to imposter syndrome.


It does not have to be this way. One of the key things to move past imposter syndrome is to internalize your brilliance and build your confidence. 


Here are a few ways to effectively manage imposter syndrome.


  • You must remember all of the things you have accomplished. You must remember those times when you had courage.


  • What is the story? As product managers, we make so many assumptions when things go wrong. For example, “our leader must think I don’t know what I am doing.” Separate the facts from the story you are telling yourself.
  • Accentuate the positive. The good news is being a perfectionist means you care deeply about the quality of the products you build. The key is to continue to strive for excellence on those tasks/strategies where it matters. Not everything has to be done well. Some things do not necessarily require perfection.
  • Develop a healthy response to failure and mistake making. Ask yourself, “what am I learning?”
  • Develop a new script. Become aware of the conversation going on in your head when you’re in a situation that triggers your Impostor feelings. This is your internal script. Then instead of thinking, “Wait till they find out I have no idea what I’m doing,” tell yourself, “Wow, everyone here is brilliant – I’m going to learn a lot!”
  • Visualize success. Do what professional athletes do. Spend time beforehand picturing yourself making a successful presentation to your CPO. 

I coach my clients overcoming imposter syndrome so they can step into their brilliance, learn to lead, and start to love innovating again. 


If you are a dedicated Product Manager who is coachable, decisive, and eager to TAKE MASSIVE STRIDES in your career, find some time with me at Book time before the slots fill up.

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