How to Cure Your Employees’ Fear, Doubt, and Procrastination
Content was originally published on Inc.com on August 28, 2018.
Being a great boss is one of the most difficult parts of being a business owner. You have a brilliant idea, the vision to scale and the know-how to make it all happen. You put together a rock star team, and you are working towards building a solid foundation for your business. And then the unthinkable happens….fear, doubt and procrastination start to creep in on your key employees. If left unchecked, it can be devastating for your business. Which is why I want to share with you my 4 tips to dealing with employee fear, doubt and procrastination.
1. Feeling Overwhelmed.
As your business grows, there are going to be times where the workload seems overwhelming. Perhaps your employee has a large project that seems unsurmountable or they have a large client caseload full of requests and don’t know where to begin. Such a feeling will stop an employee in their tracks and productivity will come to a grinding halt.
The secret to overcoming this feeling is to break down a project or task list into behavioral chunks.
“Cindy, I understand that this report has a lot of moving parts. So let’s breakdown what steps need to be done and create a timeline of when each step should be completed.”
Breaking it down into actionable steps will allow the employee to see the project in a different light and keep them moving forward towards it’s completion.
Despite popular belief, procrastination is not a behavioral issue. It’s an emotional one. It stems from a deep-seated belief that if they can’t do something good enough, they are better off just avoiding the task entirely. This could come from an old boss, a romantic partner, a teacher or even their parents growing up.
The secret to overcoming procrastination is giving the employee permission to not be perfect.
“Larry, let’s focus on getting version 1.0 of the customer education funnel written up and implemented. It won’t be perfect, but we can always tweak it and add to it as we go.”
This simple tweak gives them permission to get it done.
3. Beating Themselves Up.
It is inevitable that employees will make mistakes. It is not uncommon for an employee to get into a rut after such a mistake, which can lead them to doubt their ability to do their job properly.
The secret to helping an employee regain their confidence is to approach the fear head on.
“Ok Tim, you made a mistake. What did you learn from it? What will do you do differently next time to grow from your mistake?”
Having this conversation will give them permission to take ownership of the mistake and the outcome of it.
4. Delaying Key Decisions.
The final employee issue is one that we see often with our business coaching clients. Employees at a standstill surrounding key business decisions.
The first step to overcoming this obstacle is to ask a few important questions:
- What information are you missing?
- Do you absolutely need that information or would it just be nice to have?
- When does it need to be done by?
- Is it reversible?
We recently had a business coaching client who was having trouble pulling the trigger on a new hire. She was worried about making the right decision, and whether her pick was the perfect fit for her company culture. I asked her: “is this hiring decision reversible? She paused for a moment and then realized that although painful, it was. She could always let that person go if she realized that it wasn’t the right fit for her business. Suddenly the barrier to the decision was lifted and she could make the decision that her business needed.