What is a Sisyphean Task and How to Overcome it When Faced In Organizations?

Sisyphean Tasks

If you are a big Greek mythology buff, I can safely venture to say that the name Sisyphus must ring a bell. Sisyphus was the King of Corinth, and as the Greek mythology has it, he was condemned by the Gods for his deceitful nature. He got punished over and over again for his nefarious personality.

His life of cruelty and debauchery eventually lead him to the point of futility. He was forced live the rest of his days rolling a boulder up a steep hill, only to watch in utter desperation how it kept tumbling back down. All his efforts flushed down the drain, but his sadistic nature didn’t allow him to think over the top.

While the story is interesting, you may be wondering how Greek mythology even remotely relates to the modern era? Why do people label specific tasks as “Sisyphean tasks”, and why exactly should teams work in collaboration to overcome them?

What is a Sisyphean Task?

Sisyphus was no man of honor. He was a cruel man who was always in a race to win. So, Sisyphus was assigned a task which seemed easy at a glance. But, poor Sisyphus was so engulfed in his own belief of superiority, that he simply failed to realize that the method isn’t going to work and there might be another way around it.

Sometimes, the case with people, who are working around us or under our supervision, is pretty much the same. Employees often find themselves trapped in a bubble of mind-numbing dilemmas. They are so preoccupied with fulfilling their mundane routine tasks, tasks which they think are beneath them or are not challenging enough. They completely forget their ulterior responsibility to groom themselves professionally. Performing the same tasks repeatedly result in losing the charm of introducing innovation.

While you believe that your employees are being productive and performing tasks that they are required to perform, what you as a manager fail to realize is that you are drilling a hole into the morale system of employees. Apparently, somewhere down the lane, these same employees would become saturated, and their performance either reaches a base-line or starts sliding down the performance curve like Sisyphean’s boulder. Your employees seem to be producing all the right results, yet they fail to meet expectations.

How to Avoid Getting Stuck in a Vicious Sisyphean Loop?

If you are burdening your staff with copious amounts of tedious work, leaving no room for challenges, you are inevitably trapping them into a Sisyphean loop. You may not realize it, but your staff will become less innovative and more laid back when it comes to task management.

If you want to target the development and improvement of your staff, you should look beyond the horizon and give them something to look forward to. You should give them more opportunities to challenge their mind by doing exciting things.

Feeding enthusiasm through motivational speeches is one thing, but giving them a chance to explore better options is another. Both work hand in hand if the strategy is implemented in time.

According to a study, almost 43% of companies around the world remain open four days a week. It gives employees some additional time to reach out of the box and experiment new stuff for their personal growth satisfaction.

If a task is cumbersome and can be resolved by less experienced members of a team, leaders need to delegate smartly or find themselves stuck in the Sisyphus loop with them.

One other way to avoid the Sisyphean task loop is to assign employees tasks which makes them feel challenged in some way. Unless your employees feel truly challenged by a task and feel like they are contributing actively to the organization, their performance and consistency levels are bound to plummet head-on.

This not only mitigates the exasperation of under-performing but also greatly enhances the capability of individuals to apply new methods in resolving concerns in the best possible way.

It opens up new doors for the team, while greatly facilitating individuals so that they can implement stellar and robust strategies to achieve all specified desired targets.

Motivational speeches significantly assist individuals in moving out of their comfort zones and pondering over situations which actually matter. If they have a firm grasp of what they are planning to do, a concise path and comprehension of what they need to achieve, and a better outlook towards how they are going to achieve it, it will become much easier for them to meet their goals and objectives in time.

As much as the responsibility of employees lies in standardizing effective collaboration within teams, it is highly essential that managers focus on guiding the teams most prospectively. If employees could see the betterment of their future in performing out of the cue if there will be examples who out sparked before them and are worth looking up to, why would they ever wish to fall into the trap of the Sisyphean task loop?

In a Nutshell

Organizations which are more focused on the Kaizen methodology, the practice of continuous improvement, are less likely to find their employees wandering around near the black hole of Sisyphus ideology. Development is necessary for betterment, maybe an idea that can push the organization up a notch, perchance an introduction to a new way of facilitating tasks, or possibly a new implementation of performance indicators! The design solely lies in the hands of managers!

Do you think that you have what it takes to be a successful manager? Well, successful managers sure do use effective collaboration and task management tools. Ever tried TaskQue? Start free trial Today! Maybe it is just what you need to take your mind off the management aspects a bit so you can ponder on other tricky areas of your crew.