“None of us is as good as we think we are.”
– R. Angelo Feher
Ego refers to a person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance. For the small business owner, a certain amount of ego is good. It’s when the ego gets over inflated that problems occur. For the most part, small business owners are wonderful, dedicated, hardworking people which is why their businesses are successful. But then there are those whose egos get the better of them and they start believing that the business is successful solely because of how wonderful they are.
They can bring a business down as much as lack of customers, lack of a good strategy, poor planning and execution, or poor leadership. I’m a big believer in looking for the warning signs within a business before issues become major problems. Here are ten warning signs that your ego may be impeding the success of your business:
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Employees don’t always tell you the truth – Do you find that your employees are unwilling to tell you the truth about a situation or problem in your business? Let’s face it; no one wants to bring the boss bad news. And when you are faced with bad news, do you look to place the blame on someone? If so, as time goes by, it becomes easier for your employees not to tell the truth or just brush over the problem to avoid being blamed. Unfortunately, this does not remedy the issue, it just prolongs it.
You have a hard time getting to the root cause of problems – Do you find it difficult to determine the root causes of problems within your business? Because people will not tell you the truth, and because you may be too quick to judge and to blame, you will have a hard time getting to the root cause of your problems. Band aids will be put on, extra process steps will be added, unnecessary steps will be included, but the root cause will never actually be addressed until it becomes catastrophic.
You are losing customers and don’t know why – Are you losing customers? People like to do business with people they like. People don’t like people with huge egos. They are tiring. They don’t listen. They are always right. All these things make them less customer focused and when you are not customer focused, your customers focus on another business.
You blame others for your bad decisions – Can you admit that you have ever made a bad decision? We all make decisions, and we all need to live with the consequences of those decisions. People with big egos make decisions as well, but the difference is, they don’t like to take responsibility for their bad decisions. They blame them on someone else. And if they can blame them on someone else, they can convince themselves that it wasn’t a bad decision to begin with, just poor execution on someone else’s part.
You don’t think you need help – Think you know everything about everything in every area of your business? We are all very smart about certain things, but none of us is smart about everything. We all need help. Business owners with big egos have trouble getting past the truth that sometimes they need help and many would rather make a very bad decision than seek assistance to help them make a good, well-thought-out decision.
You have a lot of employee turnover – Are you throwing more money at your employees to get them to stay? This may work for a time, but at some point they will come to the conclusion that it is not worth the money and they will leave. The owner with the big ego will come to the conclusion that they didn’t want that person to work for them in the first place and will pretend that they are happy the employee left. After all, why wouldn’t someone want to work for someone as wonderful as they are?
Everything is a competition, even with “friends” and associates – Do you treat all your friends and business associates as competitors? Is there always a competition over revenue, management, number of people you have, office space, which clubs you belong to, and so on? Do you care about their families, their issues, their challenges and trials? Friends care, competitors don’t.
You think more about “yourself” and less about the business – Do you care more about what you can get out of the business, than what you can put into the business to help it grow? Do you care about what happens to the business and your employees once you are gone?
You are never satisfied with others’ work – Do you have trouble praising others for their work? Do you always feel it could have been done much better if you had done it? Instead of looking for things your employees are doing well, are you always looking for mistakes and places to put blame?
You must succeed at all costs – Is your self-esteem so tied to your business success, that you have to present yourself as successful regardless of the cost to the business, employees, and sometimes even the customer. Sometimes the perception of success is more important than the actual success. Is your business success the only measurement of your life success? [/message][su_spacer]
Egos are important. They help us believe in ourselves. But they can also be destructive to you and to the business you are trying to operate. Others see it. Do you? Do you recognize yourself in any of the items listed above? It’s never too late to make some changes! Less ego is good for the business and good for the owner.