Entrepreneurs are generally known for their drive and passion, but each individual brings unique personality traits to their profession. In some cases, dedication, optimism, and other positive traits work in an owner’s favor, setting the stage for commercial success. But in other cases, impatience, closed-mindedness, and other bad traits have the opposite effect, driving down sales and damaging an organization’s reputation.

If you’re a loose cannon, prone to inconsistent behavior, chances are you’re already aware of the shortcoming. And if a team member is known for having negative or unprofessional personality traits, it may already be on your radar. In either case, swift action can salvage your reputation and restore consumer confidence. Wait too long to correct personality problems, however, and your business will struggle to recover.

A toxic presence at any level of employment can spread through the ranks, sowing discord among staff. And when poor personalities shine through during direct contact with clients and customers, hard-earned goodwill and loyal relationships can quickly fall to bad personalities.

Rooting out harmful personal traits starts at the top, with a close look at your own disposition and tendencies. Once you’re confident your professional personality is helping, more than harming, work relationships, you can apply a similar standard to other staff members. A timely Entrepreneur article took a look at some of the bad personality traits you may encounter in the workplace.


Assertive, confident personalities are expected among successful business visionaries, but the most effective entrepreneurs are also flexible. The abilities to quickly adapt and respond to unexpected conditions are assets in ever-evolving business environments, whereas rigid thinking can work against you.

Sprout Funding logoAn inflexible, close-minded approach limits your options. In stark contrast, opening yourself to new possibilities gives you tools to adjust and roll with unexpected punches. An unbending bearing can leave you committed to a losing cause, while flexibility can itself turn a losing proposition into a winning move. Cultivating flexibility in yourself and key collaborators keeps your organization nimble enough to respond to fluid commercial conditions.

Failed Follow-through

Personal credibility carries over to your business, so follow-up and follow-through are essential for building respect and becoming a reliable “go-to” business associate. Effective entrepreneurs view each interaction as an opportunity to build goodwill and forge productive partnerships, cementing relationships by delivering on promises, every time.

Failing to do what you say you will do undermines in-house relationships with colleagues and employees, and it can have dire consequences in the field, putting you at odds with clients and customers.


Like some other personal tendencies, which may be beneficial in small quantities, but toxic in excess, a high level of impatience can be a business disadvantage. Determination and decisiveness are welcomed attributes for entrepreneurs, continually faced with weighty decisions. But when snap, rash decisions result from impatience, it can damage your reputation and effectiveness.

Finding the right balance ensures you’re not making hasty decisions, but you must also be aware of the crucial role timing plays in business success. Failing to act when the time is right can be just as much of a missed opportunity as jumping in at the wrong time.


Chiding co-workers and other forms of sarcasm often arise as attempts at humor. Unfortunately, sarcastic jokes don’t always land well, creating a toxic work environment. Unwitting as it may be, staff prone to backhanded compliments and snarky remarks make others feel uncomfortable, which can ultimately migrate beyond the walls of your organization.

Unless you want your customers thinking you’re insensitive, bitter, rude, or arrogant, rethink your sarcastic disposition. Decorum and decency comprise a better approach, which may ultimately grow into the integrity and even-handedness required to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Low EQ

Emotional intelligence (EQ) works alongside your IQ (raw intelligence), helping you understand and interpret others’ meaning and motivation. It is a vital ingredient for collaborative businesses, enabling staff to share ideas and work in groups. While a high EQ reinforces credibility and instills trust and confidence among co-workers, low emotional intelligence interferes with effective communication and undermines productivity.

High emotional intelligence not only helps increase self-awareness, enabling you to regulate your emotions, but it also provides tools for managing social situations and relationships.

Cling to Control

Entrepreneurs conceive of business ideas and take the necessary steps to implement their unique visions. With so much personally invested, business owners and their professional partners may resist relinquishing control of even the smallest details. The problem for “control freaks” is that the strategy is short-sighted.

Relying on your own singular vision for your business is limiting. Without others’ valued input, you can’t see beyond your own plans – however meticulous, so you may miss good ideas. And with the weight of minutiae continually testing your sense of perfection, the resulting stress may leave you unprepared to make fast, informed decisions.

The personalities representing your business are as important as the products and services you bring to market. Your best employees have the power to buoy sales and morale, but even a few damaging personality traits can quickly poison work environments and strain client relationships. If you’re not leading by example, take inventory, correcting your failures. And then intervene whenever bad personalities disrupt your positive brand messages.

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