6 personality traits your business doesn't need

May 22nd, 2015

Running a successful small business is all about having the right people on your team, who are as passionate and committed as you are to building a great company. 

While the first priority for many owners will be finding skilled employees with the technical abilities to help grow an enterprise, it's just as important to seek out the right personalities. Hiring someone who doesn't fit with the company you are trying to build is only going to add to the pressures you face.

Of course, it isn't just staff where you have to keep an eye out for these traits. Business partners, investors and even important contacts at other firms that display these qualities will pose a threat to your company.

So who are these people and how can you spot them? Here's a list of six personality traits to avoid as you grow your business and bring in new people:

1) Laziness

In small businesses, everyone needs to pull their weight and just one person dragging their feet can impact your bottom line. Staff will be your biggest investment and you need to be sure every staff member is as productive as possible.

What's more, a small office will pick up on one person's laziness - breeding resentment among colleagues who are keeping up with your expectations. At the most extreme end, a lazy worker will drag down the work ethic of the whole office.

Spotting lazy workers should be easy, but a good strategy is to make sure all your staff have concrete key performance indicators. That will make it easy for you to spot workers who aren't contributing as well as setting standards for all your staff to work towards.

2) Negativity

Some people will constantly underestimate their own skills and those of your company - people whose favourite word is no. Negativity can quickly crush business ideas and stifle any chance of a business being innovative, as well as taking a toll on the morale of your staff.

Avoiding negativity requires business owners to focus on hiring the right staff and working with business partners who can give balanced, objective feedback without letting their feelings get in the way. 

3) Aggressiveness

Being driven certainly has its place in the business world, but there is a point where this can tip over into being aggressive and damaging to a company. 

That's because combative workers will often target this aggression towards fellow staff members, creating an office culture of fear. This is even more damaging in a manager, with aggressive behaviour quickly demoralising and intimidating the staff members they oversee.

One important step here for businesses of any size is to have an anti-bullying policy that is well thought-out and communicated throughout each level. This is a great way to establish which kinds of behaviour, like being unnecessarily aggressive, are inappropriate for the workplace.

4) Self-serving

Working for a company shouldn't just be about getting a paycheck, it should also offer an opportunity to grow as a person. That's also one of the great advantages of working in a small business - it's a position where you can really see your contribution making a difference. 

However, for some people, a job is all about what they can get out of it personally, with little regard for the company's success. Being self-serving is a particularly worrying trait for business partners as the company may struggle to perform if one party is only looking out for their own interests.

5) Overconfidence

Confidence is great in moderation, but can also lead to issues when it comes to making decisions about a company's future. A business partner who pushes for a rapid expansion or a staff member who commits to a deadline that is too short can easily create problems for your business.

Of course, overconfidence can also be hard to spot, as confidence will often be one of the qualities that make it attractive to hire or collaborate with a person in the first place. Business owners still need to be sure they are thinking about this issue though, and that they have a plan to prevent the company overcommiting in the early stages of their growth. 

The best advice here is to remember the old adage that it's better to underpromise and overdeliver than to overpromise and underdeliver. Fostering this attitude among staff can also ensure they aren't overestimating their own abilities and the capabilities of your company as a whole.

6) Overly tenacious

Like many of the traits on this list, tenacity can be a great quality to have in your workforce. But there are also times this quality can become an unnecessary burden on your company's performance.

For example, some staff members won't be able to shrug off perceived insults, or let their colleagues live down mistakes in the past. One person clinging to these small issues can quickly undermine the cohesion of a team and create a culture of distrust.

To solve this, business leaders need to build a culture where mistakes are accepted - even celebrated - and aren't held over staff members heads. This also means spotting and avoiding workers who are too tenacious to let an issue drop and move on.

The personalities of your staff, managers and business partners is something any small-business owner needs to think about very seriously. If they can get this mix right, by avoiding these six personality types, the result will be a strong, dynamic company with an effective team culture.

If you'd like to learn how Earlypay's Invoice Finance & Equipment Finance can help you boost your working capital to fund growth or keep on top of day-to-day operations of your business, contact Earlypay's helpful team today on 1300 760 205, visit our sign-up form or contact [email protected].