A product manager has a lot on their plate, including tons of day-to-day responsibilities, holding research, allocating resources to a project, identifying the product vision, and communicating directly with the stakeholders. This is why imposter syndrome as a product manager is quite common.
The battle between imposter syndrome and product managers is primarily because of the work, the demands they are likely to fulfil, and the environment. When you don’t get the feeling of belonging in the role, that’s when the syndrome strikes worst.
Knowing Imposter Syndrome
Imposter Syndrome is when you get the gut feeling of fraud. The syndrome makes you believe you don’t fit the role that you have been assigned to and it’s just luck that you are in the position.
Moreover, the syndrome can push you to the extreme of thinking that you don’t deserve anything, let alone a successful career. When imposter syndrome strikes, a product manager often feels deviated and is left with self-doubts where they question their abilities and are anxious.
2 Different Ways in which Imposter Syndrome Affects PMs
The three main ways how imposter syndrome affects PMs are:
It is scary for anyone to kick off with new things and eventually branch out in their career. All of this inflicts self-doubt. As a PM, getting acquainted with self-doubt is quite common, especially when leading a new project or job.
Even the most skilled PMs go through this phase, and the only way to overcome this feeling is by embracing the opportunity and acknowledging constant learning.
2. Being Perfect
Well, humans will make mistakes regardless of their skills and expertise. The same goes for product managers. Most people think they can’t make mistakes because they are perfect at their job. However, that’s not the case, and thinking PMs are perfect can hole them out and inflate their expectations.
What Causes Imposter Syndrome?
Here are the most common reasons why imposter syndrome becomes a cause:
1. Low Self-Efficacy
Self-efficacy is nothing but a belief that one will succeed in every task that is put upon them. Product managers with low self-efficacy go through this feeling of not being enough for the job regardless of their brilliant performance.
They will often undervalue their skills and will tag success as a coincidence.
2. New Task
This is, again, a very common reason why PMs go through imposter syndrome. Whenever there is a new project or task at hand, it is obvious to other people who know more than you currently do. So, PMs often think and compare themselves to those who know it all.
This leads them towards overwhelming and stressing out by the fear of failure. Thus, ideally, it is best to adapt slowly to the conditions and get used to the work.
4 Ways To Overcome Imposter Syndrome as PM!
Nothing can help you overcome imposter syndrome as a PM, but here’s how you can get started to overcome imposter syndrome.
1. Avoid being Perfect
First of all, acknowledge that you have imposter syndrome. Imposter Syndrome and Perfectionism are related to one another. Product managers always look for ways to be perfect, and the failure to do so induces the feeling of being a fraud.
Believe it or not, there is no perfectionism in the product management world. Thus, it is best to aim for other things like product vision, product development, etc.
2. No one knows “Everything.”
A product manager can’t have answers to all your questions, or, rather, no one does. It is impossible to have the answers to all the questions at once. Everyone is working and doing their absolute best to accomplish the tasks at hand.
Therefore, keep moving forward with the belief you own and the knowledge you contain, and be sure to make informed decisions.
3. Data can help
Metrics have a major role to play in making decisions. Using data to make decisions and get on the ship is the finest educated decision a PM can make. Data is one of the most valuable assets for a PM. This is because everyone in the team may or may not trust you, and the only way to prove yourself is through facts and figures, i.e., data.
When you have data, you can flaunt your confidence, leading others to believe you.
4. Upskill Yourself
As a product manager, do you doubt your skills and think of yourself as a fraud? Well, in that case, the best solution is to upskill yourself and improve your skills.
One way to sharpen your skills and continuously improve is by doing it through new tools and by reading blogs related to the subject on the Internet. Moreover, to upskill, one can also signup for product courses or join a boot camp.
Is Imposter Syndrome Holding You Back?
As a product manager, one has to deal with many responsibilities, which can often lead to stress and anxiety in extreme cases. According to the statistics, a lot of people feel similarly.
More than 70% of people are prone to imposter syndrome at some point in life. Therefore, being surrounded by good company can prepare you to tackle imposter syndrome.
There are many professions besides being a product manager where constant doubts and insecurities exist. The only way out is to know yourself and to acknowledge the laidback.
You are one of the company’s important assets, and insecurities like these shouldn’t hold you back. Every request that you seek is being heard and appreciated.
Imposter syndrome doesn’t help anyone in the long run and is truly unhelpful for career-driven prospects. It is possible to beat this syndrome with factors like confidence and owning up to your tasks. Start making mistakes and learn from them, and then you will eventually get better and be ready to brace up for the next time.
Imposter Syndrome is nothing but a side effect that will lead you towards becoming a better product manager.
Join to get sneak peek into what's happening
I write about books, experiences, product, UX, EdTech, early stage growth, validation – mostly tech. Subscribe if these topics interest you. Once every 15 days emailer. I promise – No spam. (I am known for it otherwise) 😉