Home » The Imposter Syndrome: Building Leadership Confidence

The Imposter Syndrome: Building Leadership Confidence

Even the strongest and most capable people can face crippling self-doubt. By thinking differently and challenging negative patterns of thinking, this can be overcome and valuable professional insights gained.

Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration


The role of school leaders is multi-faceted and it can be demanding; from shaping educational vision to responding to complex challenges. Good leadership is so important to a school’s effectiveness.

School leaders who know the curriculum, understand effective teaching methodologies and are aware of the range of learning styles and additional learning needs will be equipped to make sound decisions for pupils. However, even the most experienced leaders can face moments of self-doubt, sometimes referred to as the imposter syndrome. This can be surprisingly common, affecting high-achieving people in all walks of life. It’s important to remember that it is not a reflection of ability, but rather a thought pattern that can be challenged and overcome.


So, what can you do to build leadership confidence?

1. Embrace Self-Awareness

Confidence comes from understanding your own strengths and areas you need to work on. Think about your successes in your career, and those learning moments when things didn’t go as well as you expected.  Seek feedback from trusted colleagues.

2. Cultivate a Growth Mindset

View challenges as opportunities for learning. Reframe mistakes as stepping stones on your leadership journey. The growth mindset builds resilience and confidence for uncertainties, which are guaranteed in any leadership position. 

3. Build Strong Relationships

Invest time in getting to know people, building trust, and working collaboratively with other staff members. This is the bedrock of good leadership, and can help you learn about how to work with different personalities and perspectives.

4. Embrace Continuous Learning

The only constant in education is change! Seek out professional development opportunities both in and out of school. Attending workshops and conferences supports a sense of competence, keeps you up to date with current issues/trends in education, and enables you to build a network with others in education.

Over To You…

1. List your strengths, and one area to work on. Consider how you can develop that area by setting one time bound goal for yourself.

2. Learn more about the Imposter Syndrome from Aoife O’ Brien impostersyndrome.ie

3. Check out publications by Carol Dweck to learn more about Growth Mindset.

Remember, building leadership confidence is a journey, not a destination!

If you are interested in taking a leap into education leadership then also consider subscribing to the WILL network newsletter or follow the WILL network on X (formerly Twitter) for ideas, inspiration and event news

WILL Network

Founded by Dr. Kathryn Corbett & Rachel O' Connor, The WILL Network (Women In Learning & Leadership) provides a network for aspiring and inspiring female teacher leaders in Ed. To support, share and learn from each other!

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *