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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Imposter syndrome rife in voluntary sector

This news post is over 4 years old

A survey has found that charity workers often feel inadequate at work

Charity sector workers are suffering from imposter syndrome, a new survey has revealed.

A recent study by learning and development training provider, The Hub Events, has revealed that charity workers in the UK are experiencing an epidemic of self-doubt.

Imposter syndrome is defined as that nagging feeling that you’re somehow not worthy of or responsible for your achievements, that you’re waiting for the world to notice you have no idea what you’re doing.

And the survey of 1,000 workers has suggested that it is rife in the voluntary sector.

Of those surveyed, 100% of workers in not-for-profit organisations admitted to feeling inadequate or incompetent at work, and 80% said they don’t feel they deserve their current success.

Of those surveyed, only 26% were aware of imposter syndrome, however most respondents said they had experienced its effects.

Experts have suggested that employers need to be pro-active to tackle feelings of doubt, and ensure that staff feel they can

Christine Macdonald, director of The Hub Events, said: “It’s shocking to think that despite doing an incredible job, and selflessly helping those in need, such a high proportion of third sector workers are doubting their own accomplishments and contributions to society.

“Simply talking about the fact that imposter syndrome exists, and that it’s a lot more common than we think, could be a huge relief to people who are gripped by these self-doubts.

“Organisations can help a lot by encouraging openness, opportunities to develop and realistic expectations. They can also help by ensuring their management staff are all fully trained to mentor and assist employees and understand the importance of positive feedback.”



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Ruchir Shah
over 4 years ago
One way to tackle this is to use less jargon at work. Shorthands yes, but be aware when someone new is joining your team that language can be non-inclusive (i.e. off-putting).
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