As much as I would love to say that every experience I have with other business owners is positive, that isn’t the case. Approximately 20% of the business owners I encounter are a terror to work with. Sadly, they have no idea. They have the best of intentions, with the worst outcomes. They consistently do the same things and expect different results. When they don’t get the results they expect, all hell breaks loose. It would be easy to act like I don’t see the issues, but I’d be contributing more to the problem, than the solution if I sat silent.
Here are the top areas where business owners fail to lead by a positive example:
1. Communication Style:
I constantly encounter individuals with poor communication techniques. They don’t know how to address situations in a positive way so everything becomes a misunderstanding or argument when you interact with them. They talk three times as much as they listen and you often have to repeat yourself to make your point, let alone gain their attention. These individuals are very difficult to work with and often aren’t very successful, because they don’t listen well and therefore, don’t learn much.
2. Checking Voicemail:
In an age where we have the best technology available to us to communicate with each other right at our fingertips, many people don’t even know how to check their voicemail. Their voicemail is full. They don’t listen to any messages left for them. And God forbid they delete messages. What’s the point in having a voicemail, or a phone, if you’re never going to use the simplest function on it? Not checking your voicemail and/or allowing your voicemail to fill up is the easiest way to lose customers and money. It’s unprofessional and no one is that busy. Not even me.
3. Surrounding Themselves with “Yes” People:
Look at your team and your staff. Is everyone afraid of you? Do they all agree with everything you say? Do they sit back while you make decisions and then mysteriously have a new job working elsewhere the next day? If so, you’re surrounded by “yes” people and you’re a poor leader because of it. If you don’t have someone on your team with the courage to challenge you when you aren’t making wise decisions, you don’t have a strong team. A real leader can accept constructive criticism, listens to sound ideas based on information and data and makes decisions that empower themselves and those who work for them. A good leader knows they aren’t always the foremost authority and they seek guidance from others with different perspectives, experiences and knowledge bases. A good leader is responsible for the failures and successes of their brand, but knows they are likely to be more successful and fail less when they have strong, decisive people on their teams who may not always agree with them.
4. Having Unrealistically High Expectations of Others:
Everyone’s journey to success is different. What one person deals with may or may not be similar to someone else’s experiences. Some people also have it easier than others due to the factors in their lives; parenting, environment, lifestyle, finances, etc. A person’s gifts and talents can be recognized and appreciated by others who have been in their shoes before them. Those who recognize someone else’s gifts can also motivate and encourage them towards their purpose in life and their career. However, there are some people who believe that whatever “level” they currently are on is the same level someone else should start at or aspire towards. That’s completely unrealistic. People need time and space to grow into their gifts, and that requires nurturing, understanding and sometimes it may also require leaving a person alone to learn on their own.
5. Putting All their Money on One Horse In the Race:
This is also commonly referred to as “putting all of their eggs in one basket”. I use betting on a horse instead to further drive the example home. The trifecta in horse raising is when you bet on more than one horse in the race, to place first, second and third. When a person puts all their money on one horse in the race, they are solely dependent on that horse to win. If the horse doesn’t win, the person loses. Here’s an example in business terms:
You are an independent movie producer. You’re casting a production with lesser known or amateur actors and actresses. You want someone who will attract movie goers to see your film and help you recoup your $10 million dollar budget. You can either cast one successful actor/actress in a starring role in hopes of gaining their fans (betting on one horse) or you can cast three or more successful actors/actresses to costar in the film (hitting the trifecta) and gain all of their fans.
Not only is the trifecta a better business decision, but you will also have talented individuals in roles that can help improve the quality of performances by your lesser known actors and actresses instead of expecting one big name star to carry the entire film on their own.
6. Name Droppers:
There are a lot of people who brag about who they know and who they have or can work with. Big deal. Watch those individuals closely and see if the same people they name drop are actually involved in their business when it’s time for them to show up. Chances are great that they are not around when it matters most to the business owner user their name to impress you or others. When a celebrity believes in you, your business or your brand, you don’t have to use their name to grow, because they’re telling people all about you. They’re sharing what you post on social media. They are giving referrals to you. They are introducing you to people who may want or need what you have to offer. They endorse you without monetary compensation. They want to be connected to your brand on more than one occasion. Remember: you can take pictures with all the celebrities in the world, but if you’re difficult to work with, unprofessional or have any of these other negative traits, they aren’t going to be bothered with you. Celebrities have a lot of other opportunities they can take advantage of that are less stressful than dealing with you.
The only thing I can think of that is worse than a name dropper is a person who is lives by the “fake it til you make it” credo. That once worked in our lives, but it has gone entirely too far. With the growth of social media, almost anyone can call themselves anything and create a facade of being someone they are not. You know the type.
The person who is always posting their money and material possessions on Facebook and Instagram and their entire following is based on them doing so. The person who is always at an airport, but not really going anywhere impressive or didn’t pay for the trip themselves. The person who works extremely hard to discredit others who are actually working hard to get to where they are but not bragging about it all the time. The person who tries to attach themselves to more successful people in an effort to either use them or try to demean them to make themselves feel good. The person who is always talking about what they are going to do “one day/one year/next time”, but they never do. The person who gives shout outs to celebrities that they don’t have relationships with but want to “work with”.
I call these types of people The Coming Soons and what they are doing is commonly known as frontin’. If you don’t know at least one person that fits into this category, you’re probably the one that is guilty of this behavior. Frontin’ has become nearly an epidemic. The cure is karma because the person frontin is always discovered to be a fraud sooner or later. It’s better to live a life of positive experiences and slowly grow into success, than surround yourself with material possessions (whether fake or on credit) to make others believe you’re a success. The latter has led to the death, demise and imprisonment of a lot of people.
I hope this gives you something to think about as you go into your day-to-day lives and careers interacting with people. You can’t really avoid meeting these types of people. The only things you can do is recognize them for who they are and try not to become like them yourself.