The Impact of Imposter Syndrome on Safety

For many of us, it is common to experience occasional moments of self-doubt or question our abilities. However, for some individuals, these occurrences are more intense and often a constant state of being. This feeling is commonly known as imposter syndrome and can have many effects on your overall well-being, as well as your professional life. In terms of safety, imposter syndrome can have a significant impact. Today, we would like to chat more about this term, and its implications regarding safety.

What is imposter syndrome?

Healthline describes imposter syndrome as the following, “also called perceived fraudulence, involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.” For people who experience these overwhelming feelings, they may end up working harder, putting extreme pressure on themselves and have higher standards related to job performance than those who don’t. Often, this kind of stress can impact not only their emotional well-being but their ability to succeed at work. Self doubt can also have an impact on your safety, as well as the safety as others. Therefore, it is an issue that should be taken seriously.

What are its implications?

There are several different ways in which imposter syndrome can impact safety in the workplace. From executive level to upper management to employees, it is important to ensure that all workers feel secure and confident in their decisions, and their ability to perform work related tasks. Here are a few ways in which imposter syndrome can negatively affect the workplace:

Workplace safety

Those experiencing imposter syndrome might hesitate to voice their concerns should an issue arise or they may not report potential hazards to higher management. This is typically because they doubt their judgement and worry that they will be perceived as inadequate, or fear being bothersome. In some cases, they may also downplay their own experiences and expertise, which can lead to safety risks that they are qualified to identify and address in the workplace.

“Nearly three in five (58 per cent) workers experience imposter syndrome in the workplace.” -Canadian HRReporter

Decision making

In any aspect of one’s career, it is important to be a good decision maker. In the safety industry, this is even more so. Often the ability, or inability, to decide can mean the difference between avoiding a workplace incident or one occurring. Those who struggle with imposter syndrome are typically less likely to make critical and timely decisions as they are indecisive or lack self confidence in their skills and abilities. This can be a hinderance to everyone involved and severely compromises workplace safety.

Stress and burnout

Experiencing these feelings of pressure and expectations can take a significant toll on your mental and physical health. This constant state of fear of being “found out,” striving for perfection, avoiding situations, self doubt and anxiety can lead to feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or depression. Ultimately, this can leave you feeling burned out and have a negative impact on your mental health.


Failure to communicate plays a key role in the number of incidents that may occur in the workplace. Since people with imposter syndrome often struggle with confidently voicing their opinions, concerns, or issues to due fear of being judged or scrutinized, this can negatively impact the quality of safety policies and procedures.

“Despite its prevalence, a huge 94 percent of those who have suffered from imposter syndrome haven’t discussed their feelings at work. Of those that are uncomfortable telling their manager their feelings of ‘frequent’ self-doubt, nearly two thirds (61 percent) fear they could be seen as a less capable employee.” -Workplace Insight

Now that we have shed some light on the topic of imposter syndrome, and its implications on safety, be sure to stay tuned for next weeks blog. In our next post, we will offer some tips to help those who are struggling.

Back to Blog