Avoidance the evidence of procrastination

"One ought never to turn one's back on a-threatened danger...if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half.” – Winston Churchill

Have you ever sat down to complete an important task — and then suddenly discovered you were folding your laundry or took a walk around the office? Or perhaps you suddenly realize that emails need to be answered, you need to call this significant partner — or maybe you should go ahead and have a coffee break, even though it would be your third this morning? Next thing you know, it’s the end of the day, your critical task remains unfinished, and you feel like a failure.

With the avoidance scale we can measure the tendency to use a defensive strategy of withdrawal. Hereby we hide our feelings, or we shy away from situations we find threatening. People may use this behavior when they race something different, such as a new environment or a problem they have not yet experienced solving. Whether avoidance behavior becomes extreme depends upon the nature of what we perceive as threatening. Avoidance-oriented people feel a strong need to protect themselves by steering clear of anything that threatens them. People then prefer to stay well within their self-imposed "comfort zone” and do so by playing it safe and avoiding risks, or the very important task of the day. Continuous use of avoidance behavior can read to increased self-doubt and reduced confidence.

What are the causes and symptoms of this sin?

  • A strong tendency to deny responsibility for one's own behavior
  • Feelings of guilt over real or imagined mistakes
  • Fear of failure
  • A preoccupation with one’s own concerns
  • Lack of self-disclosure that eventually leads to emotional isolation

Inevitably, this sin creates unwritten laws such as “Waiting for others to act first” or “Never being the one blamed for a mistake”.

These types of norms usually emerge drastically in organizations that fail to reward success but nevertheless punish mistakes. Members learn that the best way of surviving is to push responsibilities to others, avoid being identified with mistakes or conflicts, and to maintain a low profile. Feelings of fear and apprehension in such organizations ensure that little initiative will be taken to solve problems, improve quality, or fix mistakes.

It is often not easy to identify an avoidance-led organization, especially in times of plenty. But when difficulties arise, then it becomes obvious. The issue is that it becomes apparent in the aftermath when it is too late. It is at that point that it becomes clear how concerns have been avoided and procrastination has been the predominant mode of management.

How can this sin be avoided?

If you commit it:

  • Accomplish one small task every day. Make it something you usually worry about or avoid. Focus on thoroughly completing it, and then congratulate yourself on a job well done.
  • Focus on your feelings. Examine only the current reasoning behind your feelings-of self-doubt. Ask yourself: "What's bothering me right now?” Then take positive action by confronting and correcting the destructive "self-talk" that is causing the avoidance reaction

If you have an organization:

  • Don't sanction mistakes
  • Manage deadlines and deliverables

Don't miss the upcoming article, in which we will unfold oppositional behavior as the visible face of fear. If you want to know more about how to manage change and build resilient organizations, contact us! info@avancegroup.eu