Stop Procrastinating - Dealing With Tasks Involving Confrontation

The definition of 'a confrontation' is something that is very personal to an individual.

At one extreme, people who are resilient may only consider an interaction to be confrontational if it involves a serious quarrel complete with raised voices and high drama.

At the other extreme, someone who is sensitive may consider the passive-aggressive response of a subordinate to have been a confrontation. There may have been no outward sign of disagreement but they were left with the feeling that the subordinate just didn't want to hear what they had to say.

People have a wide range of tolerance to levels of confrontation and to different types of confrontation. For example, some people find it much easier to deal with open confrontation in the form of an argument than with sulky passive-aggressive behavior.

Others find the opposite. Some people will quite happily fight their corner with someone at the same level in the organization but will feel unable to do anything except agree with their boss even though they fundamentally oppose his or her point of view.

As an individual, you will have your own particular feelings about what constitutes a confrontation for you. This will vary according to the type and nature of the confrontation you face, or anticipate facing by performing a particular task.

If something feels like a confrontation to you, then it is a confrontation even if other people you know would not describe it as such. In addition, some people are so averse to confrontation that they will avoid situations where a confrontation is even a remote possibility.


All of this means that you need to consider very carefully if you are avoiding your responsibilities because of your own apprehension about a possible confrontation. For example:

  • Do you avoid asking others for input or cooperation in case they resent it?
  • Do you avoid returning calls from suppliers or customers in case there is a problem?
  • Do you ignore poor timekeeping by others even though it inconveniences you?
  • Do you verbally agree with your boss even when you feel that they are wrong?
  • Do you feel reluctant to offer your point of view at meetings?

It is tempting to deny that you are uncomfortable with confrontation so as to avoid appearing 'weak,' both to others and to yourself. However, the reasons for your behaviors are likely to be deep-seated and may date back to formative experiences and relationships in your childhood.

Consequently they are not something that can be overcome without considerable effort and determination. You may want to seek out a mentor to help you identify how best to relearn the behaviors that are causing you this problem.

The good news is that confrontation in the workplace is usually far less 'personal' than the experiences that have led to this aversion to conflict becoming part of your psyche. It also tends to be more predictable, less intense and quickly forgotten as people get on with their day-to-day work. For all of these reasons, it will probably prove to be easier to deal with than you think, provided that you tackle it in the right way. Our Overcoming Procrastination eBook is designed to help you understand the problem better and learn some successful ways of dealing with it.

You may also be interested in:
Stop Procrastinating | Symptoms of Procrastination | Why People Procrastinate | Dealing with Boring or Pointless Tasks | Tasks You Resent Being Given | Tasks That Appear Overwhelming | Tasks You Don't Know How to Begin | Tasks You Are Afraid of Completing | Lack of Motivation.

Key Points

  • Very few people enjoy confrontation and it is a major reason for avoiding certain tasks.
  • The threshold for confrontation is highly personal and you should be honest with yourself about where yours lies.
  • If you feel as though your fear of confrontation is making you put tasks off then you may need to take action to overcome it.
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