When you become a leader for the first time, you're naturally going to worry about the shoes you're about to fill.
In his study of newly transitioned leaders, 69 percent felt unprepared for their new roles, Ron Carucci, co-founder of leadership training firm Navalent, writes in Harvard Business Review. About 45 percent of the new leaders had "a minimal understanding" of the challenges they face as a leader.
"Fearing exposure as a fraud, many leaders overcompensate with extreme attempts at flawlessness," Carucci writes. But their resulting behavior--attempts at perfection, an obsession with fairness, and a feeling of needing to be accessible all of the time--doesn't make things better.
Below, check out Carucci's suggestions for how to weather your impostor syndrome.
Don't pretend to be perfect
When new leaders feel less than competent, they can overcompensate by trying to be perfect. But perfectionism results in subpar leadership. It is actually a hallmark of a great leader to wear your imperfections proudly. You should tell your employees what you're bad at and what you need advice on. "Followers need assurance that leaders know they themselves are flawed, and will in turn be understanding of other people's slip-ups," Carucci writes. "They must welcome feedback, encouraging candor when their weakness becomes problematic for others and apologizing early and often when they make mistakes."
Don't be obsessed with being fair
The business world is not fair--not everyone gets the same size piece of the pie. The best leaders do not worry about this inequity and are honest with employees about it. "When executives try...creating the false appearance of egalitarian polices that 'treat everyone the same,' they provoke the very anxieties they sought to allay because people instinctively know that everyone is not the same," Carucci writes.
Don't try to be there for everyone all the time
Carucci's study found that two-thirds of executives felt as though they had insufficient time to give to their employees. He says you shouldn't have "militant gatekeepers" protecting your schedule, but you cannot become "everyone's answer ATM" either. Instead, you need to remain approachable without forfeiting all of your time. Again, the key is to be honest. "Set clear boundaries and enforce the need to work within them," he writes. "Maximize the impact of your time with creative processes that help the whole team have shared access, rather than relying on too many one-on-one conversations."