The impostor phenomenon is often a hidden issue in the insurance industry. But individual sufferers should be aware they are not alone. In fact, around 70 percent of people in all industry sectors will experience “impostor” feelings at some point in their career.

The impostor phenomenon—also known as impostor syndrome—is associated with several adverse outcomes in the workplace, including lost opportunities, talent mismanagement and poor mental well-being. But by understanding the phenomenon and how to manage it, employers can help reduce its impact and enhance their inclusive practice.

A dictionary definition of the impostor phenomenon says it is characterized by doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments, accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud, despite evidence of one’s ongoing success. In fact, it is an intense feeling of intellectual phoniness, despite successes.

The impostor phenomenon can prevent individuals recognizing their knowledge, skills and capabilities, and can stop them putting themselves forward for promotion or new tasks. This has a huge impact in the organizations they work for, so it is important for insurance industry leaders to recognize the signs—and vital for them to support those who are experiencing it.

The best way for employers to tackle the issue of impostor phenomenon is by creating a more inclusive workplace. The following steps will get you started:

Enable people to recognize their impostor chatter and to call it out.

Creating a safe psychological environment where the calling out of impostor chatter is encouraged is the first step along the way to tackling the issue. It’s important for insurance leaders to help their employees identify their strengths, increase their confidence, and create a platform for people to feel safe and comfortable to say what they have done positively.

Insurance companies need to create a place where positive feedback is the same as “developmental” feedback, and where discussions around strengths used at work are common. Also, increasing supportive relationships where employees feel valued and heard will help reduce the impact of impostor chatter and decrease self-doubt.

Create a culture of inclusion.

Organizations must create a space where people feel safe and comfortable speaking up without the fear of being called out or being seen as incompetent. To make an inclusive environment, start by having explicit expectations. During meetings, for example, ensure that managers explicitly set expectations and communicate that everyone can contribute equally and that behavioral expectations are clear.

Another useful technique is to interrupt interruptions. Make sure that, as a leader, you stop anyone from being silent. You must set an expectation that everyone’s voice is needed, important and valued, and encourage individuals to speak up for others. And focus on solutions. Never blame individuals when things go wrong. Instead, see these as moments of growth, learning and evolution.

Implement and promote services such as mentoring, coaching and counseling.

Insurance leaders must implement and promote services such as mentoring, coaching and counseling—and show individuals where they can get the support they need.

Mentorship programs, for example, are helpful as they provide guidance and support to succeed. Individuals have someone they can go to in times of doubt, who will be able to guide them through their challenging period and, once they conquer it, their confidence will increase.

Having counseling services available also allows individuals to use them when they need them the most and makes them feel that their company is investing in their well-being.

Educate and inform people about the impostor phenomenon.

Leaders should provide resources for their teams to increase their knowledge and understanding of the impostor phenomenon and how they can help those experiencing it. Run courses and awareness weeks, for example, and put posters up around the office highlighting the impostor phenomenon—while making sure, at the same time, that individuals can find out more privately. Some individuals feel a sense of shame, so it is important to provide a way they can seek help privately.

Be you—a human being.

A great leader understands that having great well-being is key to high performance and encourages and empowers their team to do the same. Therefore, it is crucial for your team members to feel heard, valued and understood. In addition, insurance leaders must show empathy and self-compassion. In turn, your team will thrive and become more productive and efficient.

Leaders should encourage their teams to take holidays and breaks to rest. Delegate more and ask for help when needed. This, in turn, helps individuals who are experiencing the impostor phenomenon to know that it’s OK to ask for help, and they are not incompetent in doing so.

The insurance industry must recognize and celebrate all individuals’ different working styles and create an environment where everyone can excel can achieve their potential.