Launching a start-up requires you to give your all. You need to be armed with soft skills to withstand the challenges that come along with start-ups.
It would be best if you had a fair share of the following values;
- Strong work ethics
Suppose these are the qualities that you possess as an entrepreneur, congratulations! You are on the right track.
Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some entrepreneurs have undesirable qualities that could become detrimental to their businesses. They include;
- Poor financial management
- Lack of focus
- Setting unreasonable goals
- Inability to a team player.
If you have any of the above qualities, you better ditch them now for your business to grow and thrive.
All these undesirable qualities come down to one trait that is the most dangerous of all—the three-letter word EGO.
Ego is the reason many start-ups do not last beyond months after launching. Many successful entrepreneurs, including Steve Jobs, have excelled at one thing, which is keeping their ego in check.
While a healthy dose of ego can be useful for a start-up founder, it can spiral to a negative attribute if not kept in check.
Steve Jobs was introduced to a life-changing concept while at Reed College in 1972. This concept is known as the Reality Distortion Field (RDF).
This concept is acquired from Star Trek, where the inhabitants of planet Talos used mental force to create new realities. RDF did wonders for Jobs, transforming him from a shy college dropout to a tech business magnate.
Perhaps this concept can be credited with shaping Job’s psychology to become the guy who always took criticism positively, thus keeping his ego out of his way.
Being like Steve Jobs is no mean feat. Getting the monster ego out of your way and getting things done can be an uphill task, but the good thing is that it is doable.
Knowing the thin line between ego and confidence
It is quite common to mistake ego for confidence. However, this should never be the case. Confidence is a desired quality that entails believing in yourself and reaching for your dreams, but the ego does the exact opposite.
Ego clouds your mind and makes you believe that you are self-sufficient. It feeds on validation and approval. It does not entertain critic whatsoever.
Egotism is dangerous. When a person is egoistic, the ego damages their relationship with other people and affects their Job. Many careers have been destroyed prematurely, and businesses closed all as a result of ego.
Confidence always gives rise to success, but ego is a sure recipe for failure.
Why ego is dangerous to your business
To become a successful entrepreneur has very little to do with competency, but has everything to do with emotional intelligence.
40% of CEOs fail within the first 18 months of leadership. These statistics are alarming but also speak volumes on why conversations about checking your ego should be taken seriously.
Here are ways which ego ruins your business;
- Prioritizing yourself over your business
An enlarged ego can make you disregard your business and focus on attending to your own needs.
You will find yourself making decisions that may cost the business, all in a bid to satisfy your own selfish needs.
Say, for example, you may hire someone just because you wanted to and not because they were the best candidate that fits your business’s vision.
- Refusing to listen
Ego makes someone disregard effective communication, which involves active listening. An egoistic person ignores what other people tell them and believe that they are always right.
Failure to incorporate other people’s opinions (which could be very useful) is akin to treading on a self-destructive path.
While you don’t have to necessarily do what your friends, family, or mentor may tell you to do, sometimes listening to them could bring new ideas that may help your business big time.
- Always take credit
It is the right thing to give credit where it is due. However, when the ego comes into play, you tend to credit all accomplishments to yourself.
An employee might come up with a great idea or do something remarkable, but you find that you want the accolades to be yours.
How exactly is this dangerous to your business?
It causes resentment and hesitation to chip in with useful ideas in the future. It also brings about a toxic work environment.
Ways to deal with your ego
Keeping your ego in check is the key to ensuring that you do not lose what you have worked for vigorously.
It is possible to ensure that your ego does not overrule you.
Here are ideas that can help you get ahead of the game.
- Don’t compare yourself to others.
The saying that goes “comparison is the thief of all joy” clearly understands the dangers of comparing yourself to others.
Comparison drains you. When you start looking at how other businesses are performing, you may even feel like you are doing nothing at all.
Look back and be grateful for your achievements and use other people’s successes as motivation to work harder and not as a means to self-ridicule.
- Learn the art of delegating
If you are the type of person who finds yourself wanting to do everything, perhaps it is high time you take that step back and delegate some work. Watching from the sidelines is not as bad as you may think.
There is always that person who can do a task as efficiently as you do or even better. When you delegate, you will learn to give others credit, which automatically keeps your ego in check.
- Cut yourself some slack!
Don’t take everything seriously. You may need to relax and normalize sharing about your struggles as much as your successes.
Be humble and accept that in life, it is impossible to have it all figured out.
As difficult as it may be, acknowledging your ego is the first step towards taming it.
You must become brutally honest with yourself. Find out what motivates you to be in business and be on the look-out for any selfish reason(s). These selfish reasons are the embodiment of ego. Deal with them using the solutions prescribed above; delegate, avoid comparing yourself with others, and finally, don’t be too hard on yourself.
Sharon Jemutai is a lawyer and freelance writer who covers topics related to career development, entrepreneurship, personal development, and mental health. She strives to help readers leverage on self- improvement to advance in their careers and businesses. Connect with her on LinkedIn.