Stereotyping might be considered in some cases to be unfair and in truth, sometimes it is. You can’t assume any one individual is a certain way because they belong to a group that is known to have certain stereotypical characteristics. Rather, there is often a common characteristic that usually defines a certain group of people – the operative word being “usually”. There are always exceptions. Entrepreneurs tend to share common personality attributes that are often Entrepreneurial double-edged swords.
It is important to distinguish between entrepreneurs and those who are self-employed. The entrepreneur wants to grow companies and the self-employed want to earn their income working for themselves. Not all small business owners are entrepreneurs but all entrepreneurs start out being small business owners. Here are some common characteristics of entrepreneurs with explanations of how one characteristic can be both positive and negative at the same time.
Strong Sense of Urgency
Entrepreneurs thrive on activity and are enthusiastic to develop and implement their ideas. They are creative. But they can also be inpatient, intolerant, tense and uneasy when others don’t share the same sense of urgency or don’t respond as quickly as the entrepreneur wants them to.
High Level of Intelligence
Entrepreneurs are extremely knowledgeable in their area of expertise – they have to be in order to successfully run their business. But sometimes this high level of intelligence does not correlate with other important aspects of running a successful business like effective communication skills and good customer service
Many entrepreneurs do not function well in structured organizations where there are strict company-specific rules and regulations to follow, including having to answer to an authority figure other than themselves. Most believe they can do the job better than anyone else. They have a strong need to do things their own way with the freedom to choose and act according to their own criteria. They are often creative geniuses who have unique and innovative ideas but aren’t always able to communicate these ideas clearly for anyone to be able to effectively execute them. They know exactly what they want and can become extremely intolerant and impatient if their employees are unable to read their minds.
Entrepreneurs are self-confident. They have to be in order to think they can make it in the business world. But when that self-confidence steps over the boundary into arrogance, there could be some negative consequences. Arrogant people don’t consider anyone else’s ideas to have value – they know best. They are difficult to work with and inflexible because it is their way or the highway. Entrepreneurs have to be their own biggest fan because they are often working alone or with only a small group of people. Self confidence can actually be a triple-edged sword.
“Work – work – work” – that is the entrepreneur’s mantra. They are over achievers who never find enough hours in the day to get their work done. Their strong work ethic oftentimes interferes with their personal relationships and their interpersonal skills. Entrepreneurs are single-minded when it comes to their business – they will do whatever they have to do in order to be successful and they expect everyone who works for them to do the same. Needless-to-say, personal relationships often suffer when all one does is work. In addition, many entrepreneurs have lousy people skills and are more concerned with what their employees accomplish rather than how they are feeling. This insensitivity and lack of empathy is not received well by the entrepreneur’s employees.
Need to Control
This is usually a main reason entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs. They are risk-takers whose primary motivation is growth. Coupled with high intelligence levels, strong work ethic, high level of confidence and strong sense of urgency, the entrepreneur’s need to control can be very effective. But, their lack of empathy, inability to delegate (because no one can do it better than they can) and intolerance may have negative consequences. In all fairness to the entrepreneur, before they feel comfortable enough delegating tasks to an employee, they need to have the confidence in that person’s ability to get the job done. But if their interpersonal skills are inadequate, how will the entrepreneur be able to develop a good enough relationship with an employee to be able to ascertain that employee’s competence?
Success is the goal of the entrepreneur – sometimes success at any price. Success is the only acceptable result. Many entrepreneurs don’t have managerial experience and are unable to mentor subordinates effectively in order to foster a team spirit. This can lead to dissatisfaction and frustration on the part of the employee. The entrepreneur doesn’t understand and won’t accept that employees don’t always share the same drive and aren’t willing to live by the “work – work – work” mantra of the entrepreneur. Why should they? They don’t own the company.
Entrepreneurs are highly motivated, goal-oriented, high-energy, super-focused, visionary, driven, self-confident people who set high standards for themselves and for those who work for them. But they can also be intolerant of minor mistakes, have over-inflated egos, unwilling to consider someone else’s point of view, and unable to develop and maintain solid interpersonal relationships. The very characteristics that can lead to the entrepreneur’s success, might also lead to failure.