As humans, we are all liable to experience emotional peaks and troughs throughout our lives. This is an inescapable consequence of life–our emotional state is heavily influenced by those around us. According to a 2010 study conducted by the Proceedings of the Royal Society, every positive person that you include in your life increases your chances of being happy by 11%. In contrast, it only takes one sad friend or acquaintance to upset this balance and make you unhappy, so your choice of friends and confidants is critically important.
This principle can also be applied to your business, where the people that you employ and partner with have a huge impact on future success or failure. With this in mind, you need to beware of the following five personality types and their potential to destroy your business:
1. The Flat-track Bully
As a general rule, bullies are loud, aggressive and outwardly confident individuals who are have an ability to initially stand out from the crowd and earn recognition from their superiors. This is why they are such a danger to your business: they have a tendency to create a positive impression on employers while distressing their colleagues and having a negative impact on productivity. As these individuals progress at the expense of others and gain greater authority, your business will begin to deteriorate beneath your very nose.
The biggest issue with bullies is that they are often unable to do their job particularly well, especially those who advance into management roles. Once afforded authority, bullies are likely to wield this in a discriminating manner and target weaker or more skilled colleagues in a bid to undermine their confidence. This will cause your business to lose top talent and experience reduced productivity levels, while it will also fall prey to an increase in stress-related illness in the workplace. To avoid this personality type, you must understand their behavior in detail while also ensuring that your employees have a clear definition of what constitutes bullying and how to report it.
2. The Resentful Former Colleague
Occasionally, you may be required to employ individuals that you do not like. While this may sound strange, there are times where you must sacrifice personal feelings in order to optimize top talent and drive your business forward. This is most likely to occur as your launch your start-up venture, since building a successful venture requires you to maximize every possible resource at your disposal. So if you have a former colleague with considerable skill in their field and the ability to help your business grow, you may need to approach them regardless of your personal relationship.
This is a balancing act, however, as a deep dislike for another human being can create mistrust and considerable tension over time. The effects of this can be diverse and extremely impactful, whether attempting to manage a difficult relationship distracts you from achieving your business goals, or the employee in question begins to resent your superior status and develops a sense of indifference to the future of the firm. Try to consider this balance before taking such an individual on, weighing the potential cost to the business against the value that the individual can bring. It may well be that you are simply too alike, in which case the issues can be resolved through learning and communication.
3. The Ambitious Self-server
There are a number of reasons why stable businesses fail and become insolvent, with one of the most common being the poor retention of talented employees. It is with this in mind that you must beware of ambitious self-servers, as these characters are similar to bullies in that they will often strive to get ahead at the expense of others rather than through their own merit. While bullies use their aggression to force mistakes from their colleagues and report these to management, an ambitious self-server is far more likely to influence senior colleagues directly through charm and persuasion.
Given that this personality type are only interested in their own advancement as opposed to the progression of the business, this often leads to poor and misplaced decision making on your behalf. This can have a huge impact on the retention of talented employees, as some may be unfairly let go while others simply choose to leave the company and work for an employer that respects ability and application rather than charm. To avoid this, you need to take ownership of each individual business decision and make choices based on fixed criteria.
4. The Narcissist
Teamwork makes the dream work, right? After all, businesses thrive on the collaboration between diverse and skilled teams which combine multiple strengths in the pursuit of a single, professional goal. While most personality types can thrive when given a role in a team of people, one that struggles in this regard is the narcissist. These individuals are always more consumed with themselves than with their team-mates or the business as a whole, meaning that they often fail to take direct action when working with others.
While narcissists will not necessarily employ underhand tactics to further themselves, they are almost always arrogant and lack empathy for the people around them. This makes it extremely unlikely that they would work late to cover an absence or take on additional work to help complete a project, unless, of course, this would result in some form of individual recognition or individual reward. If you do discover a narcissist within your ranks, strive to utilize their self-serving motivation by giving them individual roles in which they can shape their own destiny (such as a commission-based sales job). This will turn a threat into an asset and help to maximize the talent at your disposal.
5. The Negative Energy Sapper
Let’s face facts: there are some people in life who possess a decidedly negative energy. Whether this is part of their innate personality or the result of experience, such negativity can become consuming when it is projected onto your decisions and business management. This is debilitating for any business, as it encourages decisions that are made out of fear and conservatism rather than sound commercial logic and the fundamental balance between risk and reward. Just as aggression and recklessness in business can lead to losses, so too negativity can cause firms to stagnate slowly over time.
The impact of negativity is also felt more substantially throughout the whole of the business, since it begins to alter the outlook of individual employees and creates incredibly low morale. This can ultimately lead to the loss of core human assets and talented employees, while also driving down productivity and making it difficult to effectively engage customers. While negative individuals are often unaware of their impact and are not necessarily at fault for the way in which they think, you should avoid hiring those with excessive amounts of negative energy if you wish to develop and expand your venture.
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