Why is it that handling minor tasks is always easier than starting a big one? Of course, some of your employees would never back down from a challenge and thrive under pressure, but there are others who seem very unsure of themselves when faced with a big job. Not all of us are brave, but everyone can contribute to achieving a common goal. In Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings,” proud Gimli and noble Legolas are competing all the time. The little hobbits are not so brave, but they are witty and inventive, and always seem to find an unexpected way out. Gandalf the Grey may be the powerful keeper of experience, but Frodo the dreamer is the one who leads the company to their great victory.
When the fellowship started on their big journey, some of them were speeding ahead while others just wanted to go back home. You may often see the same kind of situation in your team. But you never know, sometimes those with timid personalities are holding back because they are feeling afraid or just kind of numb inside. And this may have its reasons.
The feeling of responsibility takes their thoughts away from the task. Unfortunately, sometimes the positive traits we expect from our employees can become extreme and actually hinder their job performance. Let’s imagine that someone has to perform a small task with minor importance, so she does it automatically. With a bigger task, employees may feel more respected, but they may also be a little bit afraid. The fear of failure leads them to start worrying about not getting that raise or promotion, and many other problems. So, eventually, working under the burden of responsibility is like swimming against the current. Instead of spending their time and effort on dealing with the task, they waste it all on thinking about how huge and overwhelming their responsibility is.
When you’re dealing with a huge task, it’s hard to imagine the final result. Without a specific destination, people often feel stressed and kind of lost. And big projects can have that effect on people if they don’t have a clear idea of what the desired outcome is.
The illusion of freedom can make you postpone starting a job. Big tasks have distant deadlines, and there are always minor things to do close at hand that have more immediate results. Eventually, these small tasks can consume all of your productive time, while the important job is overlooked.
There are several ways to reduce the fear of huge tasks among your employees, including the following:
And finally, to really achieve good effects, let your team members know you believe in the 100 percent. It is like the placebo effect for people who are sick, who start to heal when they believe they are getting effective treatment. If your employees really believe that they can handle anything, they will perceive each new huge and difficult task not as a possibility for failure, but as a chance to prove their professionalism and giftedness.