Feel like a Fraud? 5 Types of Impostor Syndrome at Work

Joe Bloggs
Wellbeing Coach
April 23, 2024
  • Are you highly skilled and accomplished, yet struggle to internalize your success?
  • Do you overwork yourself because you fear being exposed as a fraud or imposter?
  • Regardless of how much you achieve, you always feel “not good enough”?

If so, you may be experiencing imposter syndrome!

In fact, 90% of female employees suffer from imposter syndrome according to recent research conducted by The Hub Spot. It involves feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence. If 9 out of 10 women suffer from this, how do we overcome it?

What does imposter syndrome feel like?

Oftentimes unconsciously we tend to sabotage our own happiness and success and, in many cases, it is because we tend to listen to our inner critic and get trapped in our own self-limiting thoughts and beliefs. People suffering from impostor syndrome experience feelings of inadequacy despite their academic, career or personal accomplishments. As a result, they end up working harder and holding themselves to ever higher standards.

What are the 5 types of imposter syndrome?

According to Impostor syndrome expert, Dr Valerie Young, an internationally renowned expert on the syndrome, there are five different types of impostor.

The Perfectionist

This type focus on delivering an exceptional experience, or working on a project that ends up being incredible, or how to create a big win. The perfectionist can not tolerate mistakes, their standrards are extremely hight. Failure equals shame and when things do not according to the plan they feel like haven’t tried hard enough, beat up themselves, consider themselves as lazy. Their coping mechanism is over-plannings, over- preparing and over-analysing.


o   You always hold yourself and others to extremely high standards

o   You’re sometimes accused of being a micromanager

o   Even if you deliver a successful project, you’ll beat yourself up because you were not well enough prepared

o   You never settle for less than perfect; anything else is a failure

The Superwoman

This type validates their worth based on how many different projects, roles, great things can do exceptionally well at the same time. The superwoman wants to be good at everything. They feel like multitasking it’s part of their nature and when they are not able to excel in a certain role – as a parent, manager, employer, friend – feel shame. In their mind, they should be able to respond to the requeirement of every different role perfectly and when they don’t they feel like they are not worthy or good enough.


o   You juggle multiple tasks at once—work, chores, school, side business, etc.

o   You often find yourself working overtime, even during the weekends

o   You neglect your basic wellbeing needs in order to work more

The Natural Genius

For this type it’s not just about achieving something great but doing so with easy and speed. When this doesn’t happen for them is a sign of failure. The natural genius imposter type is someone who might have done some great accomplishments at school or they had some early career success. They feel that it’s natural to them to succeed and when they don’t they feel like a fraud. As a result they are often sceptical or hesitant to try new things.


o   You believe people are born charismatic, skillful or talented

o   You oftentimes get frustrated and may quickly switch from one job/project/hobby to another

o   You see everyone around you as achieving wins while you are the only one failing

The Soloist

This is the type of person who wants to have everything under control, like doing things alone, tends to micromanage and it’s really hard for them to share responsibility. They feel like they need to figure out everything on they own and that’s why asking for help or accepting help from someone is something that makes them feel shameful.


o   You feel like you need more time for preparation, planning or rehearsal

o   You prefer solo projects versus group tasks as you feel frustrated when people do not work as hard as you do or perform as well as you do

o   You don’t ask for help, even if you need it

The Expert

This is the type of personality who wants to know everything and this is why they are in a constant process of learning and developing. However, as it is impossible to acquire all the available knowledge on a single topic there is always the feeling that do not know everything which makes them feel ashamed. Their ‘coping mechanism’ is constantly doing just another course or qualification


o   You over prepare fully by doing relentless research, diving into courses, watching tutorials, etc. before attempting a big project or presentation

o   You avoid applying for new career opportunities as you feel don’t meet all the qualifications

o   Even if you’ve been teaching or working in one specific field for years, you still have the fear of being discovered

During my upcoming webinar on 20/9 I am planning to share with HR professionals’ tips and tricks on dealing with imposter syndrome as well as some of my best practices on how to transform our self-talk so we can be more authentic, confident and empowered. Book your free ticket here:


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