Episode #25: Dismantling the Avoidant Dysfunction

Whether it’s because they’re simply “too busy” or just nowhere to be found, some leaders never seem to be around when you need them. And on the rare occasion that they can be pinned down, they’ll dip, duck, dodge, and dive all your questions, leaving you without an answer to your burning issue. It seems like they’re not only avoiding you, but avoiding their responsibility to make decisions as well…

Frustrating, right? This is the Avoidant Leadership Dysfunction in action. These leaders will often take pride in the fact that they’re not bothering their employees by being a micromanager and breathing down their necks as they work. Seemingly positive at first, but these same leaders also tend to leave their employees without any clear expectations or feedback. And that’s because it was never about avoiding micromanagement. Rather, for these leaders, it’s all about avoiding leadership responsibility and staying in their comfort zones by engaging with others as little as possible while they work to achieve their own agendas.

In today’s episode, we discuss the Avoidant Dysfunction and share some practical tips that you can start using today if the leaders in your organization seem to be playing an especially frustrating game of hide and seek with their responsibilities. We’ll also share real client stories that illustrate just how common it is to find this type of leadership behavior in organizations today. Tune in to learn more about the Avoidant Dysfunction and discover what you can do if the leaders in your organization are leaving employees high and dry when they need them the most.

If you want to know more about Anne & Heather’s work with dismantling dysfunctions in organizations and leadership behavior at Caliber Leadership Systems, check out:




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Are you dealing with an organizational dysfunction you need help with? Or do you have a story you would like to share on our show? Contact us at [email protected].



  • [01:39] Episode introduction and overview
  • [02:23] What is the Avoidant Dysfunction?
  • [09:23] Know yourself and your self-protective persona
  • [13:17] Meet with them on your own
  • [18:00] Managing up
  • [25:12] Developing interpersonal skills
  • [31:11] Episode gem & practical takeaway
  • [33:17] Episode wrap up



  • Avoidant leaders don’t know how to lead effectively, and instead of addressing this through training, coaching, or other ways of development, they act like they have no responsibility to anyone but themselves.
  • The avoidant leader tries to achieve their business objectives without engaging with others or drawing attention to themselves.
  • Managing up is a more effective way of working for an Avoidant Leader than waiting for them to lead. Reacting emotionally to their behavior usually makes things worse.
  • Are you ready to dismantle the Avoidant Leadership Dysfunction in your organization? Check out the full episode for your guide to addressing the performance of anyone who suffers from the Avoidant Dysfunction.


"Deciding to compensate for poor performance instead of managing it is an act of self- disempowerment."
episode 18 quote tile 2 - "When acting from the Victim Leadership Persona, our power and sense of personal agency is taken away by seeing situations through a  lens of helplessness."
episode 18 quote tile 3 - "Self-disempowerment starts from within. Leaders need to recognize when they are keeping their self-esteem low."
episode 18 - quote tile 4 - "Leaders need to watch that they aren't being pulled into the position  of rescuer when interacting with employees."

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