top of page
  • Kick Ass Zombie Hunter

The Ostrich Effect

A Portrait of the Common Ostrich

The Ostrich Effect draws its name from the popular belief that ostriches bury their heads in the sand to escape their predators.

People with these ostrich habits avoid facing tough conversations and challenges. They believe that if they put their head down it will either take care of itself or eventually go away. And we know through experience that almost never happens, and instead we live in a permanent world of denial and become trapped with our head buried in the sand.

Awkward conversations are an inevitable part of life but many of us shy away from them to avoid discomfort. Brené Brown talks about this during her TedTalk about vulnerability. The idea that choosing our courage over comfort and having the strength to lean into our discomfort is far more powerful than avoidance.

Although it can be tempting to be the ostrich, embracing these situations with respect and empathy. Discomfort is just a stepping-stone to understanding and resolution, making these conversations invaluable opportunities for growth, connection and trust building.


A Team Human Conversation

Fight workplace zombies in your organization and join Team Human! Gather a group of fellow workplace zombie hunters to discuss our most recent blog post. Use the questions below to kick-start your conversation.

  1. Share an example of a challenging conversation you had to navigate as a leader. How did you approach it and what strategies did you use to navigate through the discomfort?

  2. Share a time where you witnessed overcoming the ostrich effect led to a positive outcome. What did you learn from the experience?

  3. What role does empathy play in handling awkward/tough conversations?


bottom of page