Questioning yourself and being concerned about what your coworkers think are common workplace worries.
In this post I’ll discuss some of the fears and anxieties that are part and parcel of working in a business environment.
Specifically, I’m going to talk about how these insecurities aren’t exclusive to just you or your colleagues.
Your manager faces the same dilemmas every day, even if they don’t show it.
When we’re able to truly appreciate the difficulties that we all face in our different roles, we’ll be able to make better informed decisions on how to approach particular situations.
Let’s take a look at some of those common worries that we all have, and how you can address them.
What do they think of me?
In a seminar conducted by TUC earlier this year, the ATL (Association of Teachers & Lecturers) revealed that in a survey of their members, 68% admitted to hiding mental health issues from their employer (Source: Good practice in workplace mental health, TUC Seminar Report February 2015).
What can we learn from this? People have so much going on with themselves that they simply won’t worry about you as often as you think they might.
Your workforce, team, or even a group of friends who work together, are very unlikely to all have only negative feelings towards you.
Even if there is anyone in your workplace judging you, challenging your ability, or withholding an active dislike towards you, it’s unlikely that it’s on their mind all the time.
Now, imagine if you were suddenly promoted to managerial status tomorrow.
Would these worries simply vanish? New found confidence might initially override your previous concerns, but you can almost guarantee that soon enough you’ll be even more worried about what people think of you.
As a manager you will face increased responsibility, accountability and exposure to the pressures of senior management duties which have a greater impact on the operations of your organisation. These stress-inducing experiences are a mental challenge and will lead to doubts in most people, so yes – managers face this same worry as you.
Solution: Remember that you can’t control what other people think, and if it’s such a persistent worry, then make an effort to reach out to your colleagues and have a candid chat with them.
What is expected of me?
It’s not always explicitly clear what your manager expects of you.
Even if you have specific objectives and deadlines, what does your manager expect you to be doing in order to achieve those goals? Should you be putting in overtime? Should you be collaborating on projects or working independently?
But wait – your manager is probably asking the exact same questions of themselves.
Does your manager not also have individuals in senior positions to whom they report to? Is your manager not also responsible for overseeing a whole bunch of projects and staff members?
They’re most likely just as worried as you are. In fact, they’re also concerned about what you – as a collective – think of them too.
Solution: Speak to your manager about establishing a regular one-on-one meeting schedule if you don’t already have one. Use this opportunity to alleviate this fear; be direct and ask the question. Your manager will appreciate you requesting guidance to ensure your work stays on track in achieving individual, departmental and organisational goals.
If your manager isn’t receptive to this idea, then speak to HR, and seek to understand if this is something that should be implemented as company policy, explaining the benefits to you and your colleagues. If this isn’t possible, then explain to your manager that without this process, you may struggle to maintain a comprehensive understanding of what is expected from you, which will only hinder your performance and productivity.
Do I have their respect?
Sometimes it feels like you have to hurdle so many obstacles in order to finally gain a co-workers’ respect. Other times, it can feel like you almost have to be somebody else in order for a superior member of staff to actually like you.
You are not the only individual in your workplace trying to get people to respect you. So many people take rather drastic measures – such as adopting false personas – in order to gain the respect of their colleagues.
But why? What’s the point in earning a likeable status if you’re acting all the time? It’s exhausting.
The interesting part of this is that senior members of the business do the same. Facing such high expectations, it’s likely that your manager feels increasingly pressured to portray a competent – and fake – image, in order to secure confidence in their ability.
Solution: It’s such an overused and cliched advice, but you really should always be yourself. It’s not always that healthy to have separate personas for your personal life and your time spent at work. You can feel exposed, and it can be overwhelming, but there are methods for dealing with this, and in the long term you’ll find your life so much easier to enjoy.
In the mean time, one possible solution is an online stress management training course – a manageable, effective and discreet solution that you can learn from at your leisure. You’ll be able to learn how to deal with work related stress in a calm and rational manner, and utilise exercises and techniques for alleviating stress.
An online course is such a useful solution as it aids you in focusing on your work, your colleagues don’t need to know that you’re taking it, so there are a few side effects of making a change to the way you think and approach work.
You may not suffer from the exact issues outlined in this post, but what is certain, however, is that we do all have personal concerns in relation to our jobs. I believe there is something we can all learn from the challenges we – and our managers – face in the workplace on a daily basis.
Reminding ourselves occasionally that our bosses also have similar insecurities to us can make our problems seem a little more surmountable. The key is often communicating honestly and authentically with your colleagues and managers, focusing on putting everyone involved at ease in the process of doing so.
In writing this post my main intention was to help promote the importance of encouraging ourselves – and others – to empathise with our fellow colleagues.
Hopefully the solutions that I’ve prescribed to these pressing challenges will at least provide you with some transferrable ideas on how to deal with your own personal work related problems.