You Never See These Behavioral Traits In Successful People

After you’ve spent years in business, you build up a pretty good idea of what goes into making people successful. You come into contacts with all sorts of VIPs and execs. And you build up a picture of the behavioral traits that work in business – and those that don’t.

Don’t believe the stuff you hear about entrepreneurs just being “born that way.” It’s not true. Intrinsic talent is actually a lot less important that they way that you behave.

But what exactly does that mean? How should entrepreneurs behave?

It’s many things really. It’s how you speak to colleagues. It’s how you treat customers. It the way in which you go about your work every day. These things have nothing to do with whether you are technically gifted or can write great articles. These are all the little transactions that you deal with every day that ultimately build up to shape your future. It’s these behaviors that are the lynchpin undergirding those who eventually wind up successful.

Often the people who don’t make it aren’t just unlucky. Instead, they are the people who wind up engaging in self-destructive behaviors that cause their businesses to fail. In other words, their behaviors get the better of them.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to be an entrepreneur, you need to ask yourself tough questions. Do you see any of these behavioral traits in yourself?

Behavioral Trait Number 1 : Oversensitivity


We all know what sensitivity looks like from our own personal experiences. The oversensitive person is somebody who can’t take honesty because it threatens their fragile ego. It’s sad to see because it looks so painful to live with. But it’s also anathema to business.

In business, you have to be able to take the rough with the smooth. People aren’t always going to like your product or service. In fact, if you end up running a big business, there will be hundreds of people who find problems with what you’re doing. Just look at the attention garnered by some of America’s top CEOs. Every week there seems to be a story in the business media about how Elon Musk or Tim Cook have made some awful mistake.

Having a thick skin comes with the territory in business. If you can’t compartmentalize and move on, you’re quickly going to find yourself in trouble. Ruminating over every last problem will slow you down and take away from valuable work you should be doing. Tip: don’t take yourself or your work too seriously.

Behavioral Trait Number 2 : Indifference

If you’ve been around somebody who is chronically indifferent, you’ll know what it’s like. You ask them a question, hoping for a definite answer and they don’t give you one. Instead, they say stuff like “whatever works best” or “I don’t mind.” On the surface, it might seem helpful to remove yourself from the decision-making process when it doesn’t appear to matter. But this sort of behavior reveals a lot more about the person saying it.

People who are indifferent often can lack the confidence to air their own opinions. Being indifferent is rarely authentic. Instead, it’s a cover for the fact that people don’t like to assert themselves.

It can also be a cover for genuine apathy. Many people really aren’t all that bothered about the outcomes in their business. Needless to say, the people who care less about the direction of their companies tend to do less well over the long term.

Behavioral Trait Number 3 : Laziness


Training Connections Time management training classes emphasize the importance of overcoming procrastination. But what exactly is procrastination? Unsophisticated commentators equate it to laziness. They argue that most people are just slackers in business and elsewhere. And they argue that successful entrepreneurs are dedicated and focused on what they’re doing. But is that the whole story?

Laziness is usually a marker of something deeper and more profound. Most people don’t start off life lazy and unwilling to do anything. Often it’s because of their experiences that they procrastinate and avoid getting things done. Procrastination is a type of passive aggression against your future self. You waste today, and then your future self pays the price tomorrow. Often procrastination is driven by a desire to avoid doing something that you feel you are being forced to do, even if that’s not true. Thus finding out what’s driving you to be “lazy” is essential if you want to make it as an entrepreneur.

Behavioral Trait Number 4: Selfishness


Despite what you hear in the media, it’s rare that selfishness in business works. Business is all about giving your time and energy to other people. It’s fundamentally about thinking about how to meet the needs of others. That exercise in itself is enough to make it clear that entrepreneurs can’t act as if everything is about number one. Being in business is about relationships. And relationships are a two-way street.

Behavioral Trait Number 5: Taking Shortcuts

Perhaps the most misguided reason people become entrepreneurs is because they think it will make them a lot of money. It’s far easier to become an entrepreneur and set up a business than spend decades working your way up the career ladder. Or so they think.

The reality on the ground is actually very different. Entrepreneurs don’t necessarily make a lot of money. In fact, they often wind up losing money, at least for the first few years. The problem with taking shortcuts is that it shows that you’re not really in the job for the sheer joy of it. Instead, you’re looking for a quick route through to your real goal, which is making lots of money.

Often the difference between entrepreneurs who make it and those that don’t is simple perseverance. If you don’t care about what you’re doing, you won’t stick to it and ultimately you’ll fail. If you love what you’re doing, you will stick to it, even if things get tough.

Behavioral Trait Number 6: Fanaticism

People in business need to have a level head. They need to be as close to the truth as they can possibly be in order to accurately assess the state of their business. It’s okay to be passionate about your work – in fact, it’s desirable. But when that passion isn’t controlled, it can quickly turn into fanaticism.

What exactly does this mean? It’s worth pointing out that entrepreneurs always need to be critical of the work that they do. It’s essential that they are aware of the weaknesses of their products if they are to do anything about them. But some entrepreneurs can get so carried away with their products that they lose touch with reality. Losing touch with reality leads to bad decision making and poor reasoning.

Top entrepreneurs do all they can to avoid the temptation to be fanatical. Take Elon Musk, for instance. He recommends that entrepreneurs seek the counsel of the people around them. He says that entrepreneurs need to develop techniques to coax people’s real opinions about their products. Their opinions help to keep your feet firmly on the ground and to accept the legitimate limitations of your product.

Behavioral Trait Number 7: Naivety

Most small business owners start off life pretty gullible. They get sucked into all sorts of sales deals and schemes that don’t actually help their business all that much. The people who are successful, however, don’t remain naive for long. They quickly come to learn the ways in which people will try to screw them over. And they always think strategically, two or three steps ahead. They ask themselves questions like, what does this person stand to gain? And they don’t pretend that other people are as virtuous and as upstanding as themselves. They remain skeptical of others until they have reason to trust them.

The problem is that many new entrepreneurs don’t use their critical faculties. Instead, they accept everything that they see and hear at face value. Failing to read behind the lines can lead to you being outsmarted at the negotiating table and can ultimately cost you.

The bottom line? Being successful is about being shrewd. Question everybody’s motivations and act accordingly.

Behavioral Trait Number 8: Panic

Panic is rarely a helpful emotion, especially in the business world. Panic first developed in our species as a response to physical danger. But in the modern world, it is rarely induced by physical danger. Instead, it’s a response to a peril of a very different kind.

In business, crises hit with high frequency. One moment you’re trundling along happily; the next, your data center goes down. It’s in situations like these when the best entrepreneurs come into their own. They have an uncanny ability to deal with their adrenaline and maintain focus through crises.

So what have we learned? Entrepreneurs are generally shrewd, relaxed, motivated and not prone to panic. They also have the ability to reach out to others and think beyond themselves. If that sounds like you, then you probably have a bright future as a leader, running your own business. If that doesn’t sound like you, stick to the day job.

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About Dequiana Jackson

Dequiana Jackson, Founder of Inspired Marketing, Inc., helps overachieving women entrepreneurs conquer limiting beliefs and create marketing plans that grow their businesses. This includes one-on-one marketing plan development, digital product creation, web design and content marketing. Dequiana is the author of Know Your Business: How to Attract Ideal Clients & Sell More and runs the award-winning blog,

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