Toxic Business Personalities: Avoid These People if You Want Growth

12 min read
Sep 6, 2021

So, you’ve got huge aspirations for your business or sales career.

Your main focus is expanding your impact by generating more sales.

Now what?

What factors going forward will determine your success?

There’s a lot that goes into business growth.  It’s a combination of internal and external factors.

Of the external factors, one of the most important ones is the influence of the people around you.

Your team, mentors, and alliances all make a significant impact on the growth of your business.

The infamous Napoleon Hill dedicated an entire chapter in his legendary book, Think And Grow Rich, to discuss the influence of the people around you in what he calls the Master Mind Principle.

Here is what he says about the Master Mind Principle: “Two or more people actively engaged in the pursuit of a definite purpose with a positive mental attitude, constitute an unbeatable force.”

Hill is one of many entrepreneurs who credits the people around them for their success.

But how do you know who is and isn’t going to help you take your business to the next level?

To help you identify the ideal business people that will help you achieve growth, we are sharing what personality traits to look out for.  More specifically, we are sharing the toxic business personality traits that could lead to the opposite of business success.

If you encounter someone with one or more of these toxic traits, know that they aren’t the people who will help you make those monumental business decisions.

We are also sharing some of the ideal characteristics that could potentially identify someone as being the perfect business partner!

Use this guide to help you identify the people who will hinder your growth and those who will help you reach the top of the hill!


Why Is it Important to Find People With The Right Personality Traits for Business?


If your goal is merely to run up your sales numbers on some obscure graph, then this isn’t the article for you, and you don’t need to worry about being surrounded by people with the right characteristics!

However, if you are focused on growth in the form of expanding your impact by increasing your sales, then you are in the right place.

Moreover, if your first priority is growing your business by making a greater impact, then surrounding yourself with the right people is of the utmost importance.

Having the right people around you comes down to greater manpower in being able to make an impact.  The more qualified people that are in on the vision, the better!

If one person screams at the top of their lungs, people will turn their heads for a moment.

But, if a crowd of people all scream together at the top of their lungs, the floor will shake and people will need to stop and listen.

Therefore, you need to find the people who will help you make the ground shake.

The way to start finding those people is to have a solid look at their broader personality.


How to Uncover Someone’s Business Personality


How do you start to identify whether or not someone has the correct or incorrect personality traits for business?

The answer is to simply get a broader perspective of their personality by observing how they act.

Ask them questions.  Let them ask you questions.  Get to know them on a personal and professional level.

You should start by looking at their personality in these three broad categories:

  1. Interpersonal skills (people skills)
  2. Intrapersonal skills
  3. What others have to say about them

First off, have a look at their interpersonal skills by seeing how they interact with others.  Consider what they say, how they say it, and how much interaction they have.  

Second, unlike interpersonal skills, it’s challenging to get an idea of how solid someone is with their intrapersonal skills.  

But you can get a better idea by looking at their body language and how they talk about themselves.  Are they visibly nervous?  Or, do they spend the entire time talking about themselves?  You will need to go a little deeper for this one!

Lastly, there is no shame in doing some digging on a person.  The personality that they show you in person could be totally different than the one they portray online or to others.  

Gain some additional perspective by seeing them through another lens. 

Once you’ve gained a broader perspective on someone’s personality, you can begin to identify whether or not they hold any of the toxic business characteristics!


Avoid People With These Toxic Business Characteristics


Want to take your business or sales to the next level?  

Do you have a vision that you want to turn into reality?

If so, then avoid engaging with people who have these toxic business personality traits!

Regardless of how immune you think you are from other people's personalities, their negative characteristics can surely affect you.

If you encounter someone with one or more of these characteristics, use it as a lesson, and then run for the hills!


1. They Start With "No"


How many times have you come up with an inspired business idea, made the choice to tell someone about it, and then they immediately hit you with the "that will never work", or a flat out "no"?

Every great business leader who has ever lived knows this exact scenario well.


Because all successful business owners think big!  And, unfortunately, much of the time the people around them are too small-minded to even consider the possibilities of what could be.

The truth is, when someone hits you with a "no" right off the bat, what they are really saying is that it is a "no" for them.

They do not believe that they themselves are capable of turning your vision into reality, and they project that on to you.

Moreover, when someone starts with "no", they are saying that they don't believe in themselves enough.  It has little to nothing to do with you.

Instead, surround yourself with people who start with "how can we make that happen?" or "tell me more about your business plan".

The people who start with "no" lack confidence in themselves.

No business idea, no matter how genius, can survive unless the people behind it have confidence.  

Therefore, if you have a team or team leader who lacks confidence, the foundation of their business will eventually crumble.

People who start with yes think big like you do.  No matter how unconventional the idea, they will want to listen because they are focused on disruptive impact!  Seek out those who start with “yes”!


Copy of Why


2. Focused on Short-Term Rather Than Long-Term Goals


All effective leaders understand that business is about the "why".  The "why" is also known as the purpose or vision of the impact that the business will make.

While business is about the vision, it is not about monetary transactions.  Money is a result of doing business. It is not what business is all about.

If you ever run into someone whose eyes are locked on money, odds are that they are thinking about the short-term rather than long term.

And, no successful business that is focused on the short term ever survives the long term.


Because the "why" or vision of the business often takes a considerable amount of time to unfold.  Not only that, but it takes even longer for prospects to buy into the vision.

Disruptive visions take time!

Anyone can go out and make a quick buck, but not everyone has the patience to allow their vision to unfold.

Therefore, if you encounter someone who is focused on the short term, run for the hills!

Find the people who are focused on the long-term.  The kind who are dedicated to putting in the work in order for the vision to unfold in the future.  These are the kinds of people who will help you reach long-term success!


3. Their Actions Don't Match Their Words


How many times have you seen someone in business or life say one thing and then immediately do the opposite?

For example, they say they value transparency, then immediately go and be un-transparent with their team members. 

A better way of putting this is that they are not accountable for their words.

Having accountability is perhaps the most important trait a business person can have.  Lack of accountability eventually manifests into a company that folds in on itself.

All business owners lead by example.  The team members reflect the leader. 

If the business owner isn't accountable for themselves, their team won't be either.

Before the business owner knows it, the sales team will say they are making their cold calls, but in reality they only called one person and then browsed LinkedIn the rest of the day. 

Moreover, if a business owner isn't accountable for their own words, their team won't be either.  Then one day, their business will crash and they will have no idea why.

Seek out the people who put their money where their month is!

The people who say something and then act on it.

Regardless of how radical their new product idea is or how massive of an impact they want to make, they take action to accomplish it.

Talk is cheap!  Seek out the people who say something and then hold themselves accountable to what they say.


4. Talk More Than They Listen


In the journey of entrepreneurship, nobody ever has all the answers.

As genius as Bill Gates and Steve Jobs may seem, they don't know everything.

But, part of what enables them to be successful and come across as geniuses, is that they listen more than they speak.

Some people call it the sponge effect; it's the idea that successful people soak in all of the information around them and then use it to create the next great startup.

While other people are talking, they are listening.  Listening enables them to identify legitimate problems and come up with viable solutions for them. 

With that said, avoid the kind of people who talk more than they listen.

If someone talks more than they listen, they probably don't understand the problem they are trying to solve as well as they think they do.

They may have the best communication skills in the world and can talk better than anyone else, but they are nothing if they don't know how to listen.

If you are in sales, be particularly wary of people who talk more than they listen.  

The worst thing to happen is for a salesperson to try to sell the wrong vision to the wrong prospect because they did not listen to the needs of the individual in the first place.

Identify the sponges in the world!  They are the kind of people who truly understand what the market needs and will help power business growth!


5. Think They Know How to Do Everything


This next personality trait is an extension of the people who talk more than listen.

Nobody liked a know-it-all in middle school, and nobody likes a know-it-all in the business world.

The best people in business value the people around them and the input they have to give, because they know that they themselves don't know everything.

True business success is the culmination of effort from dozens, if not hundreds or thousands or individuals.

News flash: If you think you know it all, you don't.

And, that is okay, because no business leader has ever had all of the answers.  This mystery is part of what makes entrepreneurship so exciting!

If you encounter a know-it-all, simply run!  

One person's knowledge and skills can only go so far.  Anyone who thinks they can do it all on their own will cause their own downfall.

Identify the individuals who know how to put together a successful team and value the inputs of their team!  These are the people who will make a substantially large impact.


Business Characteristics That Ignite Growth (Look for People With These!)


Sometimes it’s more challenging to identify the positive business personality traits in people than it is the negative traits.

Therefore, once you have qualified someone as not having the negative, dig deeper to see whether or not they have one or more of these positive traits.

These characteristics are those exhibited by some of the most successful large and small business owners in the world.

If you want to achieve business success, surround yourself with people who exhibit these positive traits!


1. Leading By Example


First off, seek people who lead change by setting a positive example.

By a positive example, we mean those who have a vision and go after it with the right attitude and a solid work ethic.  

Nobody ever wanted to follow someone based off of what they said.

However, people always want to follow someone who sets a good example.

People who lead by example are infectious.  Others see that they are doing well, and they resultantly do what they do.  As they say, if you want to see change, be the change!

When someone leads by a positive example, a few things happen, including:

  1. Their business team levels up to their example 
  2. People become more convinced by their vision

Moreover, leading my example builds you a stronger team because the team reflects you.

And, when you live by your words, people will be more convinced that your vision is legit.

If you want to create change, be the change!  Find the people who have a vision and live according to it.


Toxic Business Personalities


2. Balanced Risk-Takers


Wait a minute... aren't business leaders supposed to be the opposite of balanced?

Aren't they supposed to be so convinced that their business vision will manifest that they leave balance in the dust?

Well, the answer is yes and no.

To be a balanced risk taker means to be flexible.  

Balanced risk takers stake their success on their vision, but they are flexible enough to adjust course when they find ways to improve.

When business leaders are not married to their visions, they don’t get so blinded by their visions that they can’t see upcoming pitfalls.

Flexibility = balance.

If the vision is coming along but they see a cliff directly in front of their path, wouldn't you expect them to adjust course?  This is what it means to be a balanced risk taker!

Watch that people take risks, but don’t act so risky that they don’t change course when something isn’t going right.

​The most successful people take risks but are not afraid to not adjust the course when something clearly isn't going as planned.


3. They Do the Hard Work Themselves


Not every person who works hard is successful, but every successful person works hard.

Nothing in life can replace a solid work ethic.

You can have the best business plan and the most genius idea, but it will mean nothing without genuine hard work.

The truth is, everyone wants to live the life of a successful business owner.  But, they base that off of the outward success that they see.  What they don't see is the years of continuous effort and the sacrifice of time for the sake of their vision.

Look for the people in life who show up every single day!  Their consistent effort is rare to find.

Even if they have to change course countless times, they will eventually succeed because they never stop putting in the honest hard work.


4. They Genuinely Enjoy What They Do


When someone loves what they do, everyone knows it.

On the flipside, when someone hates what they do, everyone also knows it.

Seek out the people who genuinely enjoy what they do!

When people like the path they are on, they will:

  1. Be willing to take more risks
  2. Go the extra mile to make manifest their vision
  3. Show extreme dedication to their vision and team

In the end, if somebody is enthusiastic about what they do, that positive energy will rub off on all other aspects of their life, including their vision and the people involved in it.

This is a particularly beneficial characteristic in sales.

If somebody truly believes in the vision that they are trying to sell, their prospects will pick up on it and it will be hard for them to resist.

When someone can serve enthusiasm up on a plate, prospects will reciprocate that energy by making a sale!

Energy is palpable in business.  You will find people who truly love what they do because they will draw you in like a magnet!


5. Focused on Vision and Purpose


Last but not least, seek out the people who are grounded in their purpose.

All of the previous personality traits converge at having a grander purpose or “why”.

People who lead by example, take balanced risks, have a solid work ethic, and love the process, are surely committed to achieving a grander purpose.

Purpose = impact.

The people dedicated to a larger purpose are focused on creating an impact.  More specifically, the kind of disruptive impact that creates generational-shifting changes.


Final Thoughts on Business Character Traits


You can’t make a substantial impact in business without having the right people around you.

The kind of people that you want to have around you are those who will drive growth by believing in the vision just as much as you do.

The way to find those people is to have a solid look at their personalities and determine whether or not they have the right traits.

With the right team, you are one giant step closer to achieving business growth!

Do you already have a team that has all of the right personality traits but for some reason isn’t pulling their weight?  Try these team motivational tactics that actually work!

Realign the team on the vision to get back to growing!

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