Entrepreneur As Coach: When You Work with an Avoider
You know anyone who is absolutely, positively aware of problems and conflicts, yet won't say a word, or do anything about it? I said, do you know anyone like that? Maybe another question can be are you like that?
Avoiders are in great supply in our culture. In fact, other than pleasers, they are probably at the top of the pattern hit parade. We are, in general, people who hate conflict, hate confrontation, and will do whatever to stay out of the way of dissent.
The chief mantra of avoiders if "gotta go" or "I'll get back to you" or "I have to think about it" or "I'll let you know". Trouble is, they never get back to you, won't think about it, whatever the it is, and they never, ever, let you know what they think.
Avoiders hate to be blamed for anything and they will walk away rather than admit they were responsible for creating a problem. They hate stress, yet their avoiding causes stress, lots of stress. They are willing to go down with the ship rather than change course if it means they will be held accountable.
Lots of workplace conflict comes from avoiders, well, avoiding! Another term from the field of psychology that fits for avoiders is passive-aggressive. The avoider's instinct is protective, to keep peace by staying out of the line of fire. When stress becomes overwhelming, avoiders begin by passively getting out of the way. They truly "gotta go", anywhere so long as it is away from the tension. If they can't leave they aim aggressive, angry outbursts at their antagonists.
Avoiders won't admit to vulnerability, yet they will go out of the way to avoid any setting where someone could make negative remarks about them. When ticked off, avoiders employ subtle and tricky methods to register their unhappiness. They might come to work late and swear they called in. They might "accidently" turn off their cell phone after you specifically let them know to expect a call, then swear you never told them.
Avoiders are the ones who will blame the computer, the phone company, the weather, the dog, anyone and everyone so long as they are not blamed. It is, actually too scary. Often avoiders came from families where there was either verbal, and in many cases, physical abuse. They need to protect themselves, and sadly, in the protecting, become more and more at risk of losing their jobs or getting a promotion.
Hey, are you an avoider?