Most workers in British organisations (64%) feel they are ‘struggling’ and ‘out of their depth’, according to Dropbox’s new research on the state of teamwork within businesses in the UK.
Experts believe that this is caused by impostor syndrome, a condition that makes people feel like as if they are ‘faking it’ at the job they are doing – viewing their role as if they somehow slipped through the net and into their position, and seeing other team members as much more competent.
The more senior employees become within a company, the more they feel they are ‘out of their depth’, with senior executives being held back by this syndrome. And the more prestigious the organisation we work for – or indeed position we attain – the more likely we are to feel this when comparing our abilities to other team members at work.
The research, conducted among UK workers and C-suite executives, found that impostor syndrome could be holding back many senior executives from realising their potential. The research reveals that 80% of chief executive officers (CEOs) and 81% of managing directors say that they are struggling in their role.
Business leaders are reliant on their teams to thrive, yet the research found that in many cases, teamwork isn’t working in UK businesses; less than half of workers in British businesses (49%) say they enjoy working in a team. The key difficulties Brits face when working within a group at work include: ‘freeloaders’ not pulling their weight (51%), teammates out for themselves (41%), managing egos (37%), arguments among the team (34%) and being held back by others (29%).
Jennifer Brook, lead design and teams researcher at Dropbox, suggested: “Teamwork is one of the most vital assets for organisations – and the research shows that in many cases, it simply isn’t working. Organisations need to embrace the benefits of teamwork, and address the issues that exist, in order to harness and unleash the creativity of those working within teams. Only then can they ensure everyone is achieving what is possible and thriving within their team rather than being held back."
The research supports a new report by The School of Life and Dropbox, which aims to help break down barriers and encourage team success by applying a philosophical lens to the vices and virtues of teamwork. It identifies clear parallels between human behaviour today and those of ancient history, and identifies learnings that can be taken, and how these teachings can be successfully applied.
The full report can be viewed here.