Overcoming Avoidance Behaviour: Why Facing Challenges Directly is Crucial for Success

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As a business owner or manager, it is crucial to tackle challenges head-on rather than avoid them. Avoidance can often exacerbate problems, leading to increased stress, conflict, and overall dissatisfaction.

Avoidance Scenarios and Impact

Escalates Conflict

Scenario 1: The Silent Team Conflict:  Maria, a marketing manager, notices growing tension between two of her team members. Instead of addressing the issue directly, she decides to ignore it, hoping it will resolve itself. Over time, the conflict escalates, leading to open arguments during meetings, decreased collaboration, and a drop in team morale. By avoiding the initial signs of conflict, Maria allowed the problem to grow, making it much harder to resolve later.

Impact: Addressing the conflict early on could have fostered a more collaborative and harmonious work environment. Avoidance allowed the issue to fester and become a significant roadblock to productivity.

Increases Stress

Scenario 2: The Overwhelmed Business Owner: John, the owner of a small tech startup, is aware that his company’s finances are in trouble. Instead of seeking help from a financial advisor or discussing the issue with his team, he avoids the subject entirely. This avoidance leads to sleepless nights, anxiety, and stress, as the financial problems continue to worsen. Eventually, the company faces a cash flow crisis, jeopardising its survival.

Impact: Seeking advice and addressing the financial issues head-on could have provided John with solutions and strategies to manage the situation. Avoidance only led to increased stress and potential business failure.

Damages Relationships

Scenario 3: The Unresolved Client Complaint: Lisa, a manager at a consulting firm, receives a complaint from an important client about a recent project. Instead of addressing the complaint, she avoids responding, hoping the client will forget about it. The client, feeling ignored and undervalued, decides to take their business elsewhere and shares their negative experience with others.

Impact: Addressing the client’s complaint promptly could have salvaged the relationship and demonstrated Lisa’s commitment to client satisfaction. Avoidance resulted in lost business and a damaged reputation.

Decreases Productivity

Scenario 4: The Procrastinating Manager: Tom, a project manager, is overwhelmed by the scope of a new project. Instead of breaking it down into manageable tasks and seeking help from his team, he procrastinates and avoids making decisions. As deadlines approach, the project falls behind schedule, and the team’s productivity plummets due to lack of direction.

Impact: Taking proactive steps and involving the team could have ensured steady progress and maintained productivity. Avoidance led to missed deadlines and a demotivated team.

Limits Personal Growth

Scenario 5: The Fearful Entrepreneur Sarah, an entrepreneur, has a brilliant idea for a new product but is afraid of potential failure. Instead of pursuing her idea, she avoids taking action, fearing the risks involved. Years pass, and she sees similar products succeed in the market, realising she missed a significant opportunity for growth and success.

Impact: Embracing the challenge and pursuing her idea could have led to personal and professional growth. Avoidance kept Sarah from realising her potential and achieving her entrepreneurial goals.

Why Avoidance is Detrimental

  1. Escalates Conflict: Avoidance temporarily delays conflict, but the underlying issues remain unresolved. Over time, these issues can grow, leading to more intense and widespread conflict. Addressing problems early can prevent escalation and foster a healthier work environment.
  2. Increases Stress: Avoidance creates a cycle of unresolved issues, leading to continuous worry and anxiety. Facing challenges directly can reduce stress by providing clarity and solutions.
  3. Damages Relationships: Avoidance can lead to frustration and resentment, as people feel ignored and undervalued. Open communication and problem-solving can strengthen relationships and build trust.
  4. Decreases Productivity: Avoidance often results in procrastination and lack of initiative. Addressing issues promptly can boost productivity and motivation, as individuals feel more responsible for their outcomes.
  5. Limits Personal Growth: Avoidance prevents individuals from learning from their experiences and developing important skills such as problem-solving and resilience. Confronting challenges directly fosters personal and professional growth.

Developing a Positive Mindset

To overcome avoidance, it’s essential to develop the skills and mindset needed to address problems directly. Here are some strategies:

  1. Self-Awareness: Recognise when you are avoiding a situation. Pay attention to your thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Get highly attuned to the signals you are avoiding something and become curious as to why.
  2. Take 100% Responsibility for your avoidance behaviour and ask yourself – ‘Am willing to shift?’
  3. Mindset Shift: Adopt a positive mindset. View challenges as gifts or opportunities for learning and growth rather than threats.
  4. Communication Skills: Improve your communication skills to effectively address conflicts and issues. Practice active listening, empathy, and assertiveness.
  5. Problem-Solving: Develop problem-solving skills. Break down complex issues into manageable tasks, brainstorm solutions, and take action.
  6. Seek Support: Don’t hesitate to seek help from mentors, colleagues, or professionals. A support network can provide guidance and encouragement.
  7. Take Action: Start with small steps. Taking action, no matter how small, can build momentum and confidence.


Avoidance in business can lead to increased conflict, stress, damaged relationships, decreased productivity, and limited personal growth. By recognising and addressing avoidance behaviours, business owners and managers can foster a more positive and productive work environment. Developing a positive mindset, improving communication skills, and taking decisive action can lead to greater personal and professional success. 

If avoidance behaviour is something you are struggling with or in need of help at the moment, reach out to us directly anytime on our Contact page!

With kindness,

Sandra Gartner – Founder