Overcoming Impostor Syndrome: Building Confidence and Belonging as a Leader

Sanyin Siang, CEO coach and author, offers advice on how to overcome impostor syndrome and feel like a confident leader in a new executive role.

Moving up to an executive position can be an exciting milestone in one’s career. However, it is not uncommon for individuals to experience a lack of confidence, especially when faced with the imposter syndrome. Sanyin Siang, a renowned CEO coach and adviser, understands the challenges that come with leadership roles and offers valuable insights to help new executives overcome their self-doubt and establish themselves as confident leaders.

Embrace Impostor Syndrome and Transform It into Power

Siang believes that instead of trying to banish impostor syndrome, individuals can harness its power to build new relationships with their team members. Impostor syndrome often stems from a feeling of not belonging, and by addressing this relational issue, leaders can create a sense of belonging and confidence for themselves and their team.

Foster Inclusion and Belonging

One of the most effective ways to combat impostor syndrome is by fostering a sense of belonging and community within the team. Siang suggests three practices that managers can adopt to increase inclusion and inspire confidence among their team members.

Acknowledge Contributions: Recognizing and appreciating the contributions of team members is crucial for creating an atmosphere where everyone feels heard and valued. By acknowledging ideas and giving credit where it is due, managers can ensure that team members feel appreciated and encouraged to speak up.

Make Good Introductions: Building a sense of belonging can be achieved through thoughtful introductions. When introducing team members, highlighting their strengths, expertise, and history not only helps others understand their role but also reinforces their sense of self and ownership of their responsibilities. Introducing team members in this way, especially to external stakeholders, demonstrates respect and affirms their importance.

Emphasize Superpowers: Siang encourages leaders to focus on the unique strengths and abilities of their team members. By highlighting these “superpowers,” managers can empower their team members and instill confidence in their abilities. Recognizing and leveraging individual strengths can create a culture of appreciation and growth within the team.


Impostor syndrome is a common experience for many individuals, especially when taking on new leadership roles. However, Sanyin Siang emphasizes that leaders can harness this self-doubt to build stronger relationships and foster a sense of belonging within their teams. By acknowledging contributions, making good introductions, and emphasizing individual strengths, leaders can overcome impostor syndrome and establish themselves as confident, inclusive leaders. Embracing these practices not only benefits the team but also instills a sense of confidence and belonging in the leader themselves.






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