The difference between success and failure in entrepreneurship can have a lot to do with your own traits and habits. We’ve all heard the old adage that “nice guys finish last,” so we would quickly concede that positive and negative are relative terms, depending on the context.
For example, if a customer is being particularly obnoxious or demanding, would a great entrepreneur respectfully show him the door, or accommodate his demands, with the positive goal of satisfying every customer?
Every successful entrepreneur can probably relate to these not-so-positive traits, and in many cases, will attest that without one or more of them, their startup would likely have failed.
Here are the 10 worst traits of even the great entrepreneurs,
1. Not a team player
Most entrepreneurs start their business because they perceive a need in the market not seen by others, and often they just don’t enjoy working with others. In time, however, every business requires a team, and giving up control becomes a constant struggle. Some entrepreneurs simply jump ship and start again.
2. Over-confident to the point of being egotistical
Letting your ego drive decisions is not the same as confidence based on knowledge and trust. While entrepreneurs need a healthy ego for body armor, it can quickly become the negative trait of arrogance if not tempered. Many put Ted Turner and Larry Ellison in this category.
3. Multitasking to the extent of thrashing
Entrepreneurs often have a thousand things going in their mind, and switch so rapidly from one to the other that they leave many people confused, including themselves. The result is that important tasks get short shrift, and relationships suffer. Don’t let multitasking supersede focus and real listening.
4. Demands perfection from all
Entrepreneurs who are perfectionists are never satisfied with their own work, as well as the work of others. This can cause delays and costs in the business, as well as friction and frustration in relationships with team members, partners, and customers. Steve Jobs survived this imperfection, or it made Apple famous.
5. Paranoid reaching delusional proportions
The good trait of being alert and cautious when approaching new people and new partners can easily morph into paranoia, where the entrepreneur trusts no one, and thinks all deals are a potential plot. The best entrepreneurs believe they can find win-win relationships with partners and investors.
6. Strong convictions bordering on obstinate
The best leaders have strong convictions, but listen to others, and are willing to compromise when required, to move the ball forward. In business, if you refuse to compromise to meets the needs of customers, your competitors will replace you. Business is no place for stubbornness.
7. Procrastination on certain challenges
Sometimes I see very smart entrepreneurs who struggle with tough issues, like hiring and firing people. They may ignore these, or hand them off to a capable business partner. The positive traits of learning, management disciplines, and timely decisions have to step forward consistently to grow a business.
8. Work-life balance
Most entrepreneurs will admit to being a workaholic at some stage of their startup. Ultimately this dedication will be seen as a negative trait by partners, family members, and team members, and can limit your business growth. Migrate to the positive traits of delegation and organization.
9. Often emotional and temperamental
Passion and sensitivity to people are key traits in every good entrepreneur, but in some cases, these can seem to escalate to mood changes and emotional outbursts for no reason. At this point the leader may make less rational decisions, and loses the loyalty and trust of associates and customers.
10. Looks at the world through colored lenses
Successful entrepreneurs can easily lose sight of the real business world, once the perks of power and influence set in. The time to worry is when you start seeing humility as a character flaw, rather than a positive trait.