Running a business can be extremely challenging, especially when you consider how social and economic factors continue to impact on consumer habits and spending. Just as weak consumer spending in the U.S. restricted economic growth during the first financial quarter of 2015, so too the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming General Election in the UK is forcing households to reconsider their short-term expenditure plan.
These factors all impact directly on business owners, who must allow for external factors and amend their strategy accordingly. There are other threats to long-term business growth, however, with every internal asset also having the potential to either make or break your venture. Take employees, for example, as regardless of aptitude or technical ability there remain some personality types that can bring down your business venture from the inside.
See also: Policies on Hostile Employee Behavior
3 Detrimental Personality Types: How to Spot and Manage Them
Given that employees are arguably the single most important business asset within your business, the need to recognise detrimental personality types and their potential impact is pressing. If you have already employed individuals with challenging personality traits, you will also need to learn how to manage them in the best possible way.
So, let’s take a look at the three key personality types that could ruin your business (and how you can meet this challenge):
1. The Bragger and the Bully
While these may be two variable personality traits, they often adopt the same behaviours in the workplace. Both are overtly brash and outwardly confident, which in turn enables them to distinguish themselves from the crowd and gain the initial attention of employers. While they use this ability to shine in front of employers, however, they are often aggressive to their colleagues and demean them to advance their own credentials. While it is tempting to put this down to insecurity, the main issue is that these individuals are often incapable of performing their duties effectively and look to expose others as a way of disguising their flaws.
In terms of recognising these personality types, you will need to compare their interview and competency performance against their résumé. Let’s say that you are hiring a web app developer, for example, and require a candidate with years of experience and an understanding of modern technology. While bullies and braggers may be able to use their confident communication skills to articulate their worth, there are likely to be résumé gaps and lack of depth in terms of practical experience. Also, look for a relatively high turnover of jobs in their career, as these personality types usually struggle to maintain their initial impression and impact negatively in productivity over time.
2. The Narcissist
While narcissists may lack the overt aggression and vindictiveness of bullies, in some respects they are more dangerous. This is because, although they have the same-serving interests and lack empathy with those around them, they are capable of disguising these traits within the dynamics of a team or department. There is no doubt that narcissists will have a detrimental impact on teamwork and collaboration within your firm, however, as they are entirely consumed with themselves and often incapable to taking direct or positive action within a group of people. A narcissist will not work additional hours to complete a collaborative project or take on additional work to cover an absence, for example, at least unless it offers a direct benefit.
The bad news is that this personality type is almost impossible to identify at the interview stage, as this part of the hiring process requires candidates to look their best and present a favourable, confident image. Narcissists may also have excelled in previous job roles, especially if they have been awarded individual ownership of tasks or projects. This is the key for employers who find narcissists working within their firm, as personalities of this type can be successfully managed and even empowered when they have individual responsibilities and the opportunity to influence their destiny. Commission-based roles are therefore ideal for narcissists, as they enable them to advance their individual earnings while also driving higher levels of company turnover.
3. The Negative Whiner
In many ways, there is little difference between those with positive and negative energy. While both may have had their philosophies shaped by experience, however, the latter group is simply unable to recover from emotional setbacks and use them as motivation for personal development. Instead, they become resentful and bitter, and the deployment of these individuals within your business often leads to a reduction in energy and productivity over time. Although people rarely adopt a negative outlook on purpose, they are potentially dangerous due to the impact that they have on their colleagues and the fact that the ultimate failure of your business may actually trigger a subconscious sense of satisfaction and comfort within them.
People with these personality traits provide a challenge to business owners as, while they possess negative energy, this may not be enough to counteract their level of skill within a specific job role. This means that each recruitment decision must be taken on merit, while you should look to test candidates at the interview stage by questioning them about previous bosses and roles of employment. This personality type will find it difficult to resist sharing any negative views that they may have, so this will give you an insight into their psyche and help you to make an informed decision. If you do decide to hire an employee with a negative outlook, you should remember that these individuals often require validation, and you can provide this by listening to their complaints and opening lines of direct communication. This way you can manage them effectively, and optimise their productivity.
With this information, it may be easier to refine your recruitment processes, identify potentially difficult personality types within the workplace, and make the most of the human resources at your disposal.