The anxiety behind recorded webinars

Hi! Last night I struggled to sleep because I had this constant worry roaming around: "I’ve attended a webinar about psychological safety this week, and one about management. In both I’ve asked similar questions regarding my current situation at work and how I’m struggling a lot to cheer up my manager because things are not OK, but it’s starting to affect the team morale and she doesn’t seem to see it.
The roaming question was “What if she sees the webinars and sees my questions and confronts me? We have a review coming up, what if she gives me a negative review based on this? I should stop asking questions at webinars.”

That last thought was the one I hated the most, since asking questions helps us and others. I’m not prepared to be confronted though, and the thought terrifies me.

Have you ever felt this way? Do you have any ideas that could help me feel like I can be open in the internet but feel safe? (maybe start using an alias?).

Regards and thank you for reading this thread! It is my first thread

Disclaimer: I don’t know why I was being so paranoid (there’s no reason to, I work in a safe space) about it but I’m really happy I made this thread because I think we need to talk about these topics :slight_smile:

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Hi @antonella :slight_smile:

Do continue asking questions and being open, and being you!
Thank you for being brave to share your concerns <3

let me try…

You are not owned by the company you work for. If they give you bad review based on this, then consider if they have the right culture for you. (I know opportunity to change can be a privilege not all have).

One way could be to anonymize (?) the stories you share, so it cannot be directly linked to your current company or manager. Some use “a friend of mine” or “I known of a company where”. I see you … erh… your friend has tried to taking to his manager about it. What does other team members say - are they struggling too?

Sometimes even I have to take the advice, that work is not worth loosing sleep over.

Hope it helps :slight_smile: - all the best

/Jesper

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I really love the idea of anonymising. I tend/tended to go for the hypothesising side of it “If someone were in situation X, what would you advise them to do?”.

Backing Jesper up with the continue to ask questions in a way that makes you feel comfortable doing so.

I had to change a lot of my online profiles to say “views expressed are my own and do not represent my company or their views” for previous companies due to odd contract clauses despite feeling that it should be obvious they were my own. I never personally wanted to be anonymous because the experiences were my own and shaped my approaches and perspectives which I felt was an important narrative for me when looking for new companies to move to.

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One of the big things I’m seeing with the recent debates in the community around mental health, accessibility, workplace equality and so on is how much these were debates and arguments I was seeing twenty years ago in another life when I was a trade union representative in the British Civil Service.

One of the strengths of that role (which was voluntary and additional to my official duties) was that I was able to take colleagues’ concerns back to management in an anonymised form simply because it was me taking them up. I was helped in this by the union giving me the necessary training to understand and advocate for these issues (and others). I’m pleased to say that in the debates I’ve seen so far, there has been very little bad advice given though a lot of the advice is limited through not working within a structure where ordinary IT workers have access to machinery that can escalate issues within - or, if necessary, outside - the workplace. A few times in twenty years, I had to threaten the organisation with legal action; and I actually instigated that on two occasions. (In one case, that concentrated minds sufficiently for the issue to be resolved without further action; in another, a senior manager who was determined to prove that they were right forced us to take the matter all the way to court. But that time, we had gone beyond any sort of local resolution, and there were no real winners on either side.)

My point is that I agree with Jesper that a management culture where people feel afraid to ask questions in external forums because of a fear of repercussions is not one which is good for either employees or, ultimately, the company. That doesn’t specifically help the OP, but if there was some sort of mechanism within the office which could advocate for people without turning issues into personal ones, this would actually be to the benefit of all concerned.

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Yes, I agree. There are such mechanisms, and they don’t have to cost anything.

I’ve worked in organizations where they’ve helped. Of course it’s essential that management buy in to the idea. It’s also essential to have a trusted manager with the skills to serve as ombudsman. If the organization is large enough, there may be a clear candidate. The whole process can be part-time, as needed.

I make it sound easy, but getting it started is the challenge. The first step is to suggest the need to a manager you trust – if there is one. If there isn’t, that’s a different situation.

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George,

Of course, the example I had experience of relied on a long-standing workplace relations mechanism where historical management buy-in came from the top down. Most Government Departments had agreements which covered that buy-in. (Though that had its own problems when that buy-in was cut off at high level because of politics or ideology.)

I don’t entirely agree with your idea of the individual being “a trusted manager”: it worked in my case (and that of my peers in other Departments) because for the most part we weren’t managers, or at least not senior ones. When I was wearing my Union Hat, I was entitled to access whatever level in the organisation was best suited to address issues. Indeed, some of the best deals I made came from middle managers approaching me with problems that had been landed on them from above, and solutions they wanted to try out, or even sometimes wanted my covert assistance in getting past senior managers!

Of course, having access to union resources meant that I had independent routes to access training and advice that Departmental management might not have (as well as back channels for information). Those resources and channels gave me the status I needed to talk to senior managers as some sort of equal. My networking within the union meant that I had status way beyond my pay grade in such matters (and the Civil Service was, in my day at least, so very mindful of status).

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Hi Robert,

Yes, the union model can work of course. I have never been employed in a union workplace. And unfortunately, I see less representation and advocacy as time passes.

I suggest “a trusted manager” for the advocate role as an example, not a requirement. At a minimum the person needs the standing and respect of management to be effective.

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Don’t underestimate or undervalue the power of your influence. The one thing you are in complete control of is your behaviour. So be that positive role model, talk proudly of your involvement in these webinars and what they give you. Your manager needs help and guidance as much as any employee, and it sounds like they really need some support. Maybe, your positivity and proud involvement in these activities, communicating them as a source of help and support may be all your manager needs to feel valued by her team.

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Thank you Jesper! I will definitely continue asking questions and taking part publicly when I feel it’s the right thing to do! I think that sometimes being brave and asking a question can definitely help those who don’t dare to ask it themselves.

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Thank you Heather! I’ve decided that I won’t anonymize myself but I definitely like the idea of phrasing my questions in a way that doesn’t make me uncomfortable right after hitting the send key :smiley:

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IMO, anonymity is the best. But, one can use real name or pseudonym depending on the situation i.e who you are dealing with.

Cheers !
Michael Jackson :wink:

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