The Icarus Complex versus Imposter Syndrome

Behavioural psychology in the workplace is a key factor when it comes to understanding each organisations environment and culture. Our personalities are assessed, and our strengths and weaknesses are identified, or are they?

Many of us will have heard the term imposter syndrome and some of us may even be a victim of it. This syndrome is when we find it hard to believe in ourselves and accept recognition for the things we achieve in the workplace. It’s often what holds people back from becoming entrepreneurs. A lack of self-belief.

But what happens when the shoe is on the other foot. Many Celebrities can be “diagnosed” with an Icarus complex. A grandiose ego, overbearing and believing the world owes them. They crave the limelight and attention. You’ve also probably come across someone in your organisation who has this complex on a smaller scale. These are the people who take recognition for other people’s work or take on a project, which is clearly out of their skillset.

It’s possible that the person demonstrating these traits actually feels inferior, but has big ideas for the future. They're unlikely to achieve their ambitions as they’re likely to be lacking proper talent, experience or the right connections. Someone with this type of complex can often seem to be living in a world of their own with delusions of grandeur, fuelled by hubris a genuine detachment from social norms and accepted social behaviours.

Believe it or not, there are some types of roles where having this complex can actually accelerate their rise to fame, but this certainly doesn’t mean they’ll stay at the top. In modern history, the forerunners you’ll most likely be aware of are Stalin, Hitler and Idi Amin.

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