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10 Kinds of Toxic Persons that Will Poison A Good Business

10 Kinds of Toxic Persons that Will Poison A Good Business

In order to run a successful business, you need a strong team. Your team doesn’t just mean employees. It could be investors, suppliers, or other stakeholders in your company. Every person that comes in contact with your business has the ability to affect it in some way. The goal is to keep as many positive and helpful people around your business as possible, and to eliminate the negativity.

Even if we don’t want to admit it, the people we hang around with have a significant impact on us. One study showed that each positive person you let into your “circle” increases your chances of being positive by 11%. And just as quickly as a positive person can improve your corporate culture, a Negative Nancy can bring down team morale as well.

Now, it’s up to you to determine if each member of your business is contributing positivity and good vibes, or if they’re actually a toxic piece that has to be removed. Here are 10 types of people who are bringing your business down.

1. The people who feel entitled

There’s nothing worse than someone who feels entitled to everything. Working hard and feeling as though you deserve the rewards you earn is a good thing. Failing to contribute to the business, and not working towards growth, but expecting to reap the rewards of the business’ success however, is an entirely different story.

These are the people who will perform mediocre work, or just enough to keep their job, then will cause a ruckus when it’s time for bonuses to be given or raises to be distributed, wondering why they didn’t get more. You’ll always be the bad guy in their eyes.

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2. The people who agree to everything

Yes Men. It’s human nature to want to be praised and congratulated. Having people tell you how good your ideas are is a great feeling, but having people tell you the truth will have a much better effect on your business.

You need to have people you can go to who will give you honest, well thought out advice on your ideas and business decisions. The problem with yes men is that they’re going to tell you whatever you want to hear, no matter how bad it is. You could pitch them your idea to open up a tattoo parlor for toddlers, and they’d be 100% on board.

3. The people who always have their hands out

As your business starts to grow, you’ll undoubtedly attract people who ask you for favors. Whether it’s your time or money, they’ll always want something from you, but typically offer nothing in return. It might start off seeming innocent enough. Can I borrow a couple of dollars to hold me over until next month? But six months later when they’re still asking you for money, or to do them one “small” favor, you’ll realize that you’re being taken advantage of.

You’ve worked too hard to get to where you are to give it all away for free. Helping people out is fine, but don’t become a permanent lifeline.

4. The people who promise you the world

Being in business, you’re probably very accustomed to the world of selling. But every now and then, you’re bound to come across a few people who will make you wonderful promises of doubling, tripling, or even quadrupling your revenues and expanding your business beyond belief.

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So you’re excited. It sounds great! But nine times out of ten, it’s just hype to get you to buy into something that’s not all it’s cracked up to be.

5. The people with no follow-through

Some people are great at generating ideas and being creative. But when it comes to executing those ideas, they’re completely lost. That’s where you come in. They get you to invest your resources to push their idea. But after a while, they realize it’s not something they want to pursue and you’re left with a burden on your shoulders that has taken your focus away from your own business.

If someone pitches you an idea, triple check to make sure they’re the real deal and are invested in making it work. If they don’t show the same passion and drive for their business ideas as you have for yours, then it’s probably not going to end well for either of you.

6. The people who shoot down your dreams

Just as yes men can be toxic to your business, someone who constantly shoots down all of your hopes and dreams can be equally damaging. Constructive criticism is helpful, but if someone is completely ragging on every idea you have, that means one of two things:

  1. All of your ideas are awful (very unlikely)
  2. They’re putting you down for their own personal reasons

There will always be people who tell you that you can’t be successful. The secret to success is ignoring the noise, and staying focused on making your business work.

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7. The people who hate their job

Do you have employees that you know hate being there? They come in unexcited, they always leave at 5:00 PM on the dot, and show no interest in furthering their career with your company. It may sound cruel, but sometimes the best thing you can do in this situation is to let them go.

Why? Because sooner or later their attitude will spread to other employees. They’ll constantly complain about being underpaid, problems they have with the company, and other issues they have. Before you know it, your company is filled with people who don’t want to be there and aren’t working their hardest like Peter Gibbons.

8. The people who love drama

Unless you want your business to be made into a soap opera, stay away from people who can’t seem to avoid drama. A little bit of office gossip is normal, but when it starts to affect people’s ability to work productively and be cohesive, the problem needs to be addressed.

9. The people who bring the wrong kind of attention

I’m not sure what it is, but some people just seem prone to negative publicity. No matter where they go, they always seem to leave a bad taste for everyone they come in contact with. You don’t want your business to become attached to people who have a bad reputation or are synonymous with trouble.

Whether it’s an investor that was tied up in a horrible scandal, or a high level executive that can’t seem to stop getting arrested, sometimes it’s best to just cut your business ties altogether.

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10. The people who try to change your vision

When you started your business, you had a vision of what it would be. You have your mission statement, your branding, and have even thought about what type of corporate culture you want. But as your business grows, you’ll have different people try to alter that vision and transform what your company is all about.

A little bit of change is OK, but doing a complete 180 from what you intended can have a very bad impact. For one, there’s a good chance that you’ve built up a customer base and clientele that chose your company because of its foundation. Stay true to your overall vision and be authentic. Don’t let others deter your company from its essence.

The key is to keep as many positive people around your business as possible, and cut off any of these toxic ones. Have you had any run-ins with any of these toxic persons?

Featured photo credit: Man on smart phone – young business man in airport. Businessman using smartphone inside office building or airport. via shutterstock.com

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Published on January 7, 2021

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

How To Train Yourself When You Lack Attention To Details

Some people see the trees for the forest, and some see only the forest, meaning they lack strong attention to detail. But even if you’re one of the people who take a macro rather than a micro view, true professionalism requires balancing both.

If focusing on the fine points is not your forte, you will benefit from training yourself to pay attention to details. You will profit by saving yourself time, effort, money, and credibility.

Why Training Yourself in Attention to Details Pays Off

You add value to your organization when you make the effort to ensure that you performed your work thoroughly and effectively. This is why job postings often list “attention to details” among the required skills.

When you present your supervisor or client with well-completed, high-quality work the first time, it maximizes your value and minimizes wasted time. Detail-oriented people are also more adept at catching mistakes that could lead to costly blunders.

Moreover, attention to detail is an indicator of possessing other in-demand employee qualities, such as organization, thoroughness, and focus. In some professions, such as accounting, engineering, medical research, and more, you can only excel if you have trained yourself to pay attention to details.

In other professions, possessing strong attention to detail is the very quality that will get you promoted to a position where you will be asked to consider the big picture.

Finally, if you are the “go-to” details person, everyone else on the team can relax a bit. They know the project is in good hands and will likely throw you more projects as a reward. This will ultimately lead to your advancement.

3 Important Aspects of Becoming More Detail-Oriented

Here are the 3 important things you need to learn if you want to remedy your lack of attention to detail:

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  1. Respect deadlines
  2. Understand the work-flow plan
  3. Build in time to mess up

1. Respect Deadlines

Deadlines lend all projects a finish line. One smart idea is to take the given deadline and work backward from it, calculating when your piece of the project is due. Then, if you stick to the proscribed schedule for completing the mini-projects that you have, you will never miss a deadline.

One important note on this: It is smarter to stick to the deadline and turn in work that merits a “B+” than to blow the deadline with “A” work. Chances are, through revision and suggested changes from others on the team, you can bring up your B+ work to an A later. But if you disregard deadlines, you will lose the respect of your boss and fellow teammates.

2. Understand the Work-Flow Plan

Your team is developing work in conjunction with other teams who have projects and deadlines of their own. When you grasp the whole work-flow plan, you may be able to either add insight to the greater project or to your own smaller piece of it that others at the firm will consider valuable.

3. Build in Time to Mess Up

You can expect that “what can go wrong will go wrong.” Don’t overpromise on deadlines. Something likely will mess up, but when it does if you built in the time to fix it, those around you won’t freak out.

Chances are, you already give your attention to several details. Take heart. You can do this! You can overcome your lack of attention to detail and become more detail-oriented.

For starters, consider this: Most people take the time and put in extra effort into the activities or undertakings that matter to them most. Training yourself to become more detail-oriented can mean adopting a similar pattern of behavior.

Apply the same attention you give to your appearance. Are you a meticulous dresser? Do you pay attention to how you pair patterns and colors, and how you accessorize a particular outfit?

This is the same system to use when you lack attention to detail with your work. Give every item careful consideration so that each one contributes to the perfectly pieced-together whole.

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Assemble the ingredients the way you do when you cook. Cooking and baking from scratch require close attention to details as you measure and add each ingredient in sequence, and you time everything so that the meal comes together at the same time.

Similarly, your work product requires you to gauge whether all the ingredients have been added and that your final product is delivered on time.

Organize your business network like you do your social contacts. If you follow a broad base of friends and acquaintances on social media, you can apply similar skills to stay up-to-date on details associated with business acquaintances.

When you meet somebody who could be influential to your career or a resource for improving your skills, follow that person on social media. Respond to their posts to keep the lines of communication flowing.

12 Tips to Help You if You Lack Attention to Detail

Teaching yourself to take note of important details involves sharpening your perceptions and thinking ahead. The following tips will help you adopt these practices. Master these habits when training yourself to become detail-oriented.

1. Learn to Listen Well

You will pick up relevant information and needed nuance when you apply the skills of active listening. In conversations, train yourself to make eye contact, give your undivided attention to the speaker, and ask pertinent follow-up questions.

Training yourself to pay better attention to details in conversations includes learning to fully concentrate on what others have to say. If you find it hard, there’s no harm in taking notes on what they say.

2. Pay Attention to Social Cues

Make a point of noticing body language and facial expressions that provide insights into how others perceive a situation. Social cues offer details that give you an understanding of how words and actions impact others. The infamous character Michael Scott of the television show “The Office” epitomizes the consequences of not paying attention to others’ body language.[1]

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3. Follow Rules

Rules and protocols usually come about from lessons learned and are put in place to avoid further mishaps—whether from a safety or efficiency standpoint. If you’re given step-by-step procedures to follow, check them off as you go. Also, return to the rules at the project’s end just to make sure you adhered to them all.

4. Take Notes

Note-taking is a way to boost your retention and gives you something to refer back to when you need to keep track of pertinent details. You will also heighten your focus as you listen for relevant information. Review your notes shortly after the meeting or conversation and highlight the content that you intend to apply.

5. Prioritize What Needs Your Attention Now

When you have a full slate of work that demands your attention, take a few moments to sort assignments from most to least urgent. Keep a calendar, spreadsheet, or project planning software up-to-date with schedules and deadlines to help you stay organized.

As you tackle each urgent assignment, give it your full attention so no details are missed. Give yourself ample time—especially if you tend to be someone who waits until the last minute—as rushing can make you overlook important details.

6. Have a Detail-Oriented Assistant Check Your Work

If you lack attention to detail, then it makes sense to seek help from someone detail-oriented. If you have this option, take advantage of it. Two sets of eyes are better than one. Just be sure to credit your assistant for their help once the project is completed.

7. Learn the Rules of Writing Well

English is a difficult language, and grammar, punctuation, and spelling can all sabotage you unless you pay attention to detail. When in doubt, look it up. Free to use website services such as Grammarly can help.

8. Proofread Before You Hit Send

Nothing is perfect in its first draft. If you lack attention to detail, then put in the extra effort before submitting things. Before you send off any written work, check carefully not only for misspellings and incomplete sentences but also for improper tone, inappropriate colloquialisms, and inconsistent formatting. When your written communications are error-free, they will have their intended impact.

9. Minimize Distractions

It is impossible to stay focused when colleagues carry on conversations nearby or your mobile notifications ding you throughout the day. Do your best to limit distractions.

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If you are working where there is a lot of noise or side activity, try wearing noise-canceling headphones or seeking out a quiet corner. Disable your notifications when you need to focus, and resolve to only check them after you have completed your assignment.

10. Take Breaks

It may sound counter-intuitive to stop and take a walk, but it’s necessary. Walk away from the screen. Moving from one task to the next across the span of your workday is a recipe for brain fatigue. Give your brain a recess time when you come to a natural stopping place or after you complete one project and before you start the next. These short pauses are necessary for sorting through all the details needed for coming up with successful solutions.

11. Make Time for Reflection

At the end of a workday, take a few minutes to go over the day’s events in your mind. What was said or relayed in conversations? What is the status of the projects you worked on? What else occurred that you should pay attention to? Could there have been any details you might have missed that you should address tomorrow?

12. Keep a Detailed To-Do List

This simple organizational tool is your best ally for getting your work done on time and for paying attention to the details. If you are pressed for time (and who isn’t?), write your list to coordinate with dayparts.

Allot a certain number of hours to complete each task, do it, and then check it off. Nothing feels more rewarding than completing all the tasks on your list. But if you can’t finish them, then carry them over to the following day.

Final Thoughts

Details may seem small, but they can become a lot larger when they are overlooked. If you know you lack attention to detail, commit to training yourself to embrace the many facets that can help you consistently excel in the tasks you set out to accomplish.

When you begin to catch your mistakes in advance or apply the tidbits of information you gathered from paying close attention, you will know that you have trained yourself in the fundamentals of becoming detail-oriented. After that, you should start hearing the phrase “Great job!” more often.

More Tips on Boosting Your Attention to Detail

Featured photo credit: Cristina Gottardi via unsplash.com

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