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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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Last Updated on April 17, 2019

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

10 Essential Soft Skills That Will Help Advance Your Career

What’s the secret of professional success? Some of it lies in the mastery of your discipline and all the technical skills you have to carry out your job; but a much bigger part lies in the soft skills list you possess.

Soft skills are your people or relationship skills—how well you get along with others and your ability to communicate and collaborate—as well as the personal characteristics you bring to the job, such as optimism, a can-do attitude and the motivation to work hard. These skills are not always easy to point out, but their absence can cause serious problems and negatively affect the whole work atmosphere.

They say that hard skills will help you get the job, but soft skills will help you get along—and get ahead. With that in mind, here’s the top-10 essential soft skills list to help you advance your career.

1. Communication Skills

Communication skills are hands-down the most sought-after soft skill that bosses want, and this one ability covers a lot of ground.

To communicate well, you have to listen carefully, interpret the context of the conversation, express yourself clearly, persuade others of your point of view, check your body language and use an engaging presentation style that won’t intimidate or bore your audience. That’s a big ask!

Your personality traits can influence the way you communicate with others. For instance, some people get straight to the point and center their arguments around facts and logic; others are cooperative and sensitive to how others feel. Both these approaches are equally valuable but there can be misunderstandings if you don’t understand where the other person is coming from.

Taking a comprehensive personality test can help you understand why you communicate the way you do and where your blind spots are. It can also help you understand other communication styles is so you can tailor your communication to the person you’re dealing with.

After all, connecting with your conversation partner is the hallmark of good communication.

2. Flexibility

Change is an essential part of any business. Companies need employees who are flexible enough to work with new initiatives, open to new ideas, and generally are able to tough it out when things don’t go as planned.

Research has found a link between job performance and flexibility over the long term because there will be times when you have to step outside your routine and rise to fresh challenges that didn’t exist before.

Being flexible doesn’t mean you have to hop into a new task or job role like an expert. Rather, it’s about showing you’re willing to accept new responsibility and learn different things.

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Bosses look for people who are prepared to step outside their comfort zones and are open to alternative solutions when their first idea doesn’t work.

3. Being a Team Player

Working on a team can be challenging but learning to do it well can definitely help you get ahead in your career. Employers look for people who can negotiate, cooperate and manage conflicts with other people to achieve a common goal. That includes the ability to build lasting relationships with customers and clients.

What makes a good team player? Essentially, it’s someone who knows the goal and knows her role. Employers look for evidence that you know your strengths, your responsibilities and how you can best contribute to the team, then put those skills into action by sharing ideas and communicating in a respectful manner. That’s the definition of being a good team player.

This is another area where taking a personality test can help you get ahead. When teams work together, each member brings a unique set of skills and qualities to the group. Research has shown that different combinations of personalities affect how teams collaborate and how productive they are.

Knowing who you are, and how you work on a team, can drive new insights and open the door to better teamwork.

4. Positive Mental Attitude

There are plenty of things you can’t change at work, like the people you work with or the fact that the printer is broken again. The one thing you can change is how much you let these things bother you.

Bosses like people who are calm, rational and upbeat—those who diffuse tensions in the workplace, not get all grouchy and go around slamming doors.

Studies show that people who maintain a sunny disposition have better relationships at work, are happier in their jobs and make better decisions than those who whine and complain. Some suggest that a positive mental attitude can also make you live longer—which means it’s beneficial for every area of your life![1]

It’s not always easy to keep a “glass half full” mentality when work is stressful and the deadlines are piling up. But there are some things you can do to help maintain a positive attitude. Laughing at your unfortunate circumstances keeps the work environment positive, and taking “sanity” breaks can help you keep your cool in high-pressure situations.

Managers look for positive mental attitude in a team member that is ready for a promotion, so it really does pay to keep your cool in challenging situations.

5. A Strong Work Ethic

People with a strong work ethic are committed to the role, persevere when things get tough and are inspired by challenge. These people are ambassadors for the organization, and will always be seen as top talent and ideal candidates.

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If you can exhibit this skill, then expect to be seen as a great candidate, eligible for new opportunities and positions throughout your career.

Since a strong work ethic can mean different things to different people, it helps to show specific examples of your exceptional work ethic during a performance appraisal or interview. For instance, you might talk about:

  • A time when you persisted in the face of challenges and did not shy away from hard work.
  • How you volunteered to help with projects even though these tasks did not form part of your job description.
  • The networking, workplace learning and skills betterment you’ve undertaken, which shows ambition and drive (people with a strong work ethic have those qualities in spades).
  • How you own your mistakes and never, ever point the finger of blame at others.

For help with building a strong work ethic, check out these tips: How to Build a Reliable Work Ethic

6. Public Speaking

Who’s terrified of public speaking? Pretty much everyone, since public speaking is America’s number one fear, ahead of death at number five and loneliness at number seven.

Yet, according to Warren Buffett, mastering this one skill you could increase your personal value by 50 percent.[2] That’s huge!

If you’re not natural at public speaking, you’re in good company. Buffett had to work hard to overcome his stage fright and once dropped out of a public-speaking course before it started—because he was afraid of public speaking! He eventually realized that he needed to build up his confidence by just doing it; over and over in front of small groups.

For a more structured approach, Toastmasters International teaches public speaking and leadership skills through a variety of pathways. Membership of this non-profit looks good on your resume but the real payoff will come when you can put your newfound skills to use on the job or in the interview room.

Or, you can check out this advice: The Ultimate Public Speaking Tips to Hook and Impress Any Audience

7. Integrity

From a manager’s point of view, the two integrity skills that will set you apart are:

  • Always doing what you say you will do
  • Owning an error instead of minimizing or hiding it

…even when no one is around to check up on you.

There are lots of people who have climbed the ladder without scruples, but they are not the people who others trust, respect and support when promotion time comes around.

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Behaving with integrity is a safe and consistent way to enhance your reputation and achieve your professional goals.

8. Managing Your Time

Phone calls, texts, Slack pings, meetings, huddles, side projects, multitasking—we are busier today than any generation before us. There’s no denying the workplace is an incredibly distracting place to be.

A lot of us have traded effectiveness for busyness which we wear as a badge of honor, both as a proxy for productivity and to show our value to the company. But what bosses want, what they really, really want, is someone who actually gets stuff done on time.

Time management is not merely the art of being on time, but of managing your time so you focus on the projects that really matter and add value to the business. This means prioritizing well, sticking to schedules, delegating, and not getting distracted by tasks that are easier to perform or less important. It means planning ahead and learning when it’s appropriate to say no.

Time management can be a tough skill to maintain, but not a difficult one to pick up. Monitor your actions for a few days—how long do your tasks take to finish? What’s interrupting you? What causes you to lose focus? Once you have the answers to these questions, you can set a schedule for yourself to make sure you’re spending your time wisely and this valuable asset is never wasted.

These 20 Quick Time Management Tips to Super Boost Your Productivity are also great to try.

9. Assertiveness

In any workplace, you typically will find people with the following conflict styles:

  • Passive: Those who go out of their way to avoid conflict.
  • Passive-aggressive: Those who express their negative feelings through actions rather than words.
  • Aggressive: Those who respond to conflict in a hostile and rude manner. These people get their opinion heard but they won’t make any friends in the process.
  • Assertive: People who stick up for their rights while still respecting the rights of others.

Managers look for assertiveness above all other styles because it allows decisions to be made without conflict or alienating people.

How do you use this information for yourself?

It starts with understanding your personality so you can anticipate how you will react when conflict arises and address your own shortcomings. Then, you can start influencing the team for top results, and securing your own career advancement in the process.

Learn how to be assertive and gain respect:

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How to Be Assertive and Stand up for Yourself the Smart Way

10. Creative Thinking

LinkedIn recently analyzed over 50,000 skills that employers search for when looking for candidates to find out what skills are currently in demand.[3] Taking the number-one slot on the 2019 soft skills list was creativity: the ability to solve problems and think outside the box.

Creativity is about bringing fresh, and sometimes unorthodox, ideas to the table. This helps companies to innovate, and companies that do not innovate will not survive very long.

How do you showcase your creative thinking skills? The golden rule is to participate.

Be brave and share your ideas during group brainstorming sessions. Volunteer to run a society, networking event or recruitment drive. Ask “what if” questions: “What if we add this information to the client welcome pack?” “What if we eliminate step 3 from the process?”

These activities demonstrate that you’re prepared to go beyond “business as usual” towards creative problem solving—an ability that will serve you every day, all throughout your career.

You can learn to unleash your creativity power:

What Is Creativity? We All Have It, and Need It

Final Thoughts

The good news? Every item on this soft skills list can be learned. Although you may feel lacking in certain areas, taking an inventory of your strengths and weaknesses will allow you to focus in on the areas that you’ll benefit from developing.

So take an inventory of your personality, skills, and talents. This will give you a baseline for your communication style, attitude to change, conscientiousness and more. You can then identify your weak areas and develop strategies for improving your team-building, assertiveness and conflict skills.

The better news? The effort is worth it. Developing your soft skills opens the door to a new job or a promotion, and helps you succeed once you get there.

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Featured photo credit: Rachael Gorjestani via unsplash.com

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