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How to Overcome the Imposter Syndrome

Daria Derkach

Engineering Manager at Atlassian

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The Internal Struggle

When I transitioned from an IC to a leadership position, I became the manager for a team I had previously worked on. I went from a part of the team to their leader. This transition proved to be a mental challenge for me rather than a technical one. I understood my new responsibilities and job requirements but felt like I was disconnected from my team every time we synced up. I was struggling to take control of my team and engage in this new role as their manager.

How to Overcome Mental Blocks

Finding Relevant Research:

First of all, I was in this situation for a month or so before realizing that I needed to spark a change. I started Googling and doing online research on how to overcome my problem. I found out that many other people had gone through what I was experiencing, and they called it an imposter syndrome. However, I found that these suggestions on the internet were not relevant or helpful to me. Many of the suggestions were to “deal with it” and “gain confidence,” which was what I couldn’t seem to achieve on my own. I took the information I found and dropped the useless suggestions.

Reach out to Leadership:

I connected with my manager and explained to him that I was having this issue where I was not comfortable managing my team. He offered me great advice - to talk to everyone on my team and explain how I was feeling. He told me that my team was one of the assets that would help me overcome this issue. Once he gave me this advice and reassurance, I felt it was time to start one-on-one with my team members.

Connect with the Team:

I set up a bunch of sync-ups to explain how I felt and ask for feedback and ideas. Once I began these conversations, I learned that the team saw me as their manager and had no issues with my style of leadership. Hearing this gave me the much-needed boost in confidence to engage in my role.

Initially, when I became a manager, I felt a disconnect between myself and my team, as if I was part of a different group, as a manager. In reality, I needed this confidence check to show me that I was still a major part of this team; only some of my responsibilities were different.

Common Understandings

  • Talking with your team is the best way to gain insight into how you are doing. Your team is the group of people that can give you the best feedback and help you overcome any type of imposter syndrome.

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Daria Derkach

Engineering Manager at Atlassian


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