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5 Traits to Guard Against as an Entrepreneur



There is a great deal of articles devoted to extolling the rewards, successes, and achievements of entrepreneurs. However, there is also a ‘dark’ side of entrepreneurship, more like things that every entrepreneur should guard against –  negative qualities and unhealthy habits or excesses. This aspect of the entrepreneurial profile has a destructive source that exists ... Continue Reading

There is a great deal of articles devoted to extolling the rewards, successes, and achievements of entrepreneurs. However, there is also a ‘dark’ side of entrepreneurship, more like things that every entrepreneur should guard against –  negative qualities and unhealthy habits or excesses. This aspect of the entrepreneurial profile has a destructive source that exists within the energetic drive of successful entrepreneurs. In examining this dual-edged approach to the entrepreneurial personality, I have discovered from my personal experiences and those of other entrepreneurs that there are a number of traits that characterize this ‘dark’ side.

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1. Desire for too much control

Entrepreneurs can be often driven by a strong desire to control, a craving for ultimate power over both their venture and their destiny. This in itself is not much of a bad trait but the problem arises this internal locus of control spills over into a preoccupation with controlling everything. An obsession for autonomy and control may  cause entrepreneurs to work in structured situations only when they have created the structure on their own terms. This is one major trait that every nascent entrepreneur must be on guard against.

2. Sense of distrust and cynicism

Entrepreneurs try to anticipate and act on developments that others will recognize too late. They equally try to discover viable opportunities and act on them before others. While this ‘sixth sense’ is a very defining characteristic trait of entrepreneurs, it could result in a distrustful state which could in turn lead to focus on trivial things, causing them to lose sight of reality, distort reasoning and logic and take destructive actions.

3. Over-emphasis on success

The entrepreneur’s ego is greatly involved in the strong desire for success. While that strong desire is the source of the motivation and zeal that daily spurs most entrepreneurs into action, they have a tendency to rise up as defiant individuals who creatively act to succeed (especially monetarily) by any means possible and take pride in demonstrating that success. Therein lies the seeds of possible destructiveness: the danger that the individual will become more important than the venture or cause itself.

4. External and deceitful optimism

Entrepreneurs maintain a high level of enthusiasm that gives off an external optimism that allows others to believe in them and their ideas even during rough periods. This is one great quality of entrepreneurs that provides them with the needed charisma to convince people about their products and services and earn their loyalty. However, when taken to its extreme, this optimistic attitude can lead to a fantasy approach to the business or venture. A self-deceptive state may arise in which trends, facts and reports are ignored and the entrepreneur deludes himself into thinking everything will turn out fine.

5. Over-tolerance to stress

In order to achieve their goals, entrepreneurs are usually willing to tolerate stress. It is important to recognize causes of entrepreneurial stress: loneliness, immersion in business, people problems and the strong need to achieve. Entrepreneurial stress cannot be escaped by wanna-be entrepreneurs and must be endured many times in the pursuit of any venture or enterprise. This kind of entrepreneurial stress affects the entrepreneur mentally, physically and even emotionally.

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Now it’s your turn: Which of these negative traits and predispositions have you been a victim of? I’m sure you must have noticed that all these traits mentioned result from extreme emphasis on the already positive and great qualities of entrepreneurs? Share your thoughts, opinions and contributions in the comments section below.

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