5 Personality Traits of Leaders that Can Get in the Way of Business Performance

Most companies face challenging situations from time to time—and in these situations, most leaders fail, according to the Boston Consulting Group.

There are three related reasons for a significant rate of business failure, particularly during a crisis or challenging times and personality issues are one.

So what are the five common personality traits and how can leaders overcome them?

1. The Perfectionist – You find it hard to admit you have done anything wrong or are the actual cause of business woes. An inability to admit mistakes might mean an inability to try new things to turn around a failing business.
2. The People-pleaser – You are so worried about what others think of you that you avoid making the tough decisions necessary to rescue a sinking ship.
3. The Goal-focused – You work yourself to burnout point trying to save a business, but this can be at the cost of other important parts of your life, such as family.
4. The Opportunist – You get bored with the necessary details that need attending to in order to make a business successful. Or you put too much positive spin on a declining situation, covering the reality that needs to be faced.
5. The Procrastinator – You put off a decision if you don’t feel you have all of the information or are overloaded with information on which to base a decision.

Tips to improve business performance

  • Recognise any personality issues – If you want to give your business the best chance of success, it’s imperative to understand yourself clearly. Knowing when you are at your best and when you are getting in the way of your organisation provides valuable clues to the best strategy to improve business performance.
  • Gain a fresh perspective – Leaders who have been involved with a business for an extended period of time may have become desensitised. A fresh pair of eyes can provide an independent and objective view of the situation.
  • Accept the ‘new’ business reality – Often leaders come unstuck during challenging times and deny the reality of the business situation. This continued denial is often detrimental to the future performance of the business. By accepting the reality of where the business is at, you are better positioned to create a recovery/performance improvement strategy.
  • Develop and execute a performance improvement strategy – Many executives overemphasise strategy and under-emphasise execution, or vice versa. A company’s success is based on the strength of its strategy and the leader’s ability to implement it.
  • Seek outside support – A specialist consultant or coach can assist with any of the above. Whether it’s helping you to understand how your personality may enhance or hinder your business, and how to use your personality to best effect; providing a fresh perspective on the business; or developing and assisting to implement an effective performance improvement strategy.


What tips can you add to help leaders overcome these personality traits?

This blog post is an extract of an article that first appeared in the December 2013 issue of The CEO Magazine.


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