The 5, Make That 7, Most Toxic Personalities That Can Poison Your Startup

Building a startup team is critical because you are bringing on and managing employees with minimal resources. Entrepreneurs need to find exceptional people to help their companies accelerate. And, they need to avoid bad hires that can poison morale. Here are the most toxic personalities and how to look out for them.

“Nay” sayer. We all know that person who says “it can’t be done.” Sometimes this is an important role in fleshing out plans, but, not in a startup. A no-can-do attitude will thwart enthusiasm and slow progress. Look for optimists who find solutions to every challenge. Where there’s a will, there’s always a way. Find it.

Sycophant. As much as we don’t need a negative nellie, we don’t want a yes man, either. You need people who will bring a point of view to the table. Employees who are goal oriented are not just trying to butter up to the boss — they are working to move the business to ever increasing successes.

Stuck-in-a-rut. You know the type. They are constantly saying: “we’ve always done it this way.” Learn from the past but don’t stay there. It is key to have nimble employees who can change direction on a dime. Look for flexibility and adaptability plus curiosity. And a quick-learner. This one will go with the flow and bring an A game for every play.

Fanatic. This one usually leads to bad decision making, or no decision at all. While dedication to the cause can be a plus, excessive, single-minded, extreme zest can prevent agility. Ask probing questions to make sure employee passion and enthusiasm can evolve with the the needs of a developing company.

Blamer. A person who can’t take responsibility — has to find fault — is too busy pointing fingers rather than finding solutions. Make sure candidates don’t take their self too seriously. Look for humility — and a good sense of humor — to accept constructive criticism and move on. A mistake becomes a lesson when you learn from it.

Slacker. A startup can’t have laziness. And no sort cuts. For most of the challenges, there is usually no quick fix. Look for perseverance. Hard work over the long haul yields great things. Hire employees who have discipline and can stay focused.

Misfit. Yes, chemistry is critical. Every player needs to get along to get through hard work, struggles and sacrifices on the way to success. Can you imagine enduring a road trip with this person? Will you be able to share a long day in a conference room together? And will this person be able to build camaraderie with the team?

With the right mix of talent, personality, and commitment, you can build an organization that will last long after the IPO.