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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch

Calling all "avoiders”!


I know there are a lot of you out there, you are not alone. This struggle to shy away from difficult conversations and situations only to find yourself knee-deep in mounting tension and problems.

The “Avoider” is one of the 10 saboteurs in Positive Intelligence. While we may all have small aspects of this character there are many that dodge bullets on a regular basis in an effort to avoid discomfort, conflict, and maintain superficial harmony. The anxiety around having the “real conversation” is too difficult and momentary peace is preferred.

For example, your partner on a project has not been performing well, clearly having an honest conversation about expectations and integrity is needed but there is no way you want to do that…. Therefore you cover for them, do extra work, say “yes” when you don't want to, secretly correct mistakes, and make passive-aggressive comments to yourself and others about how the project is going. All the while becoming more resentful but also looking like a great “team player” and avoiding conflict. Who is really losing out?

While we can appreciate your flexibility and easy-going temperament it is clear that the underlying tension is growing and you are not creating relationships based on honesty and trust. Rather you are doing what needs to be done to create the image of a functional team.

Some avoiders delay action. The list of “to-do’s” is getting longer and longer and finally, others begin to lose trust in your abilities and question your commitment. Not to mention, you are not living up to your capabilities.


Fundamentally, the question is, who do you want to be? Are you interested in having thoughtful relationships based on trust and honesty or are you content skimming the surface to stay comfortable?


This is not a choice of one or the other, it is a commitment to yourself to stand fiercely yet humbly and tackle scenarios head-on. It requires introspection and partnerships with trusted colleagues. I promise you, it is a much more positive place to live. Less stress, more gentle honesty… we could all use more of that!

What is the next step to ease your way out of the avoider mode?

1. Become very aware of when you are avoiding and ask yourself why?

  • Lack of confidence?

  • Lack of skill around how to have an uncomfortable conversation?

  • Desire to appear helpful and accommodating?

2. What support do you need to develop to combat this tendency?

  • Coaching?

  • Mentoring?

  • Self-accountability?

3. If you are a “task avoider” try prioritizing your list and commit to accomplishing the top two each day. Slow and steady progress will create momentum and positive vibes!


My Challenge to You:

  • Take the Positive Intelligence free Saboteur assessment. It is a lot easier to work on and identify your tendencies if you know what they are!

  • Are you happy avoiding? Does it get you what you need and the relationships you want? If not, begin with awareness and then begin to shift your thoughts to alternative actions. Finding the gift and opportunity in learning a new skill and creating authenticity in relationships.

  • Imagine if your entire team took this assessment and were able to capitalize on strengths and understand and appreciate one another's strengths and challenges. Suddenly your team would develop insight and perspective and begin to work together to reach peak performance.

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