I call them “selfie” entrepreneurs, and you can all spot them from a mile away – at conferences, client visits, phone calls, and even informal events. Selfie entrepreneurs are all about “I,” “me,” and “myself.” This entrepreneurial trait is incredibly toxic and needs immediate correction. Why is that so? All of us are proud entrepreneurs. As founders, your entrepreneurial initiatives are close to your heart, much more than it is to your employees and some of your partners and investors. Your business is after all the result of all the sweat, blood, and hours of hard work you’ve put in even before you got to the start-up phase. The difficulties of shifting from a secure job into a shaky entrepreneurial setup and trying to grab your audience’s attention just like a million other startups are unimaginable.
But let’s stop just there. Think again! Are you sure that your entrepreneurial growth can be attributed to just you and your brilliance?
What about your partners who travelled with you right from the concept stage of your entrepreneurial journey? What about your employees who took the risk of trusting a startup with zero credentials and contributed their skill sets and hard work for your sake? What about your customers who not just trusted your startup organization and gave precious inputs that transformed your solutions?
Your success and your capability to overcome failures are attributable to many helping hands and stakeholders who have given your entrepreneurial venture their time, effort, intelligence, and skills. So, although the idea was yours and you did make the first move, the success of your entrepreneurial initiative definitely depends on a whole lot of critical stakeholders.
A selfie entrepreneur borders on the narcissistic personality of entrepreneurship, which can have quite a toxic influence on your entrepreneurial venture.
Not sharing decision-making responsibilities or the credits of success can take its toll on your entire team. Well, that’s the keyword here - team. There will definitely be moments when you will have to take the lead, step in and take strong decisions, but in most instances, entrepreneurship is about teamwork, healthy communication, smart delegation, and sharing ideas and points of view.
A team that’s not given the due credit will eventually lose the drive to deliver their best and not contribute during tough times. Today’s workplace is a brilliant combination of people from all generations. Such a workforce will be successful only in a creative, transparent, and empowering environment. This approach makes learning from failures a lot easier and encourages sharing innovative ideas with ease.
As an entrepreneur you understand that you are not a superhero. There are many roles where you need support because you lack the specific skill set. Moreover, doing everything on your own will soon drain out your energy. Hence, you need to value the stakeholders who support you in these roles and bring different perspectives and skill sets to your entrepreneurial journey.
Another risk that selfie entrepreneurs face is in micromanagement. Trust is a huge issue for them as they interfere even at a granular level, not allowing their stakeholders to take independent decisions. This approach has many long-term complications, where your employees will soon stop taking initiatives and a rising sense of frustration will snowball into huge misunderstandings at work.
Today’s entrepreneurship models encourage a value-based approach where every stakeholder who adds value to an entrepreneurial initiative is a precious partner. Even your clients prefer an authentic approach rather than a jargon-filled, self-obsessed monologue. Hence, the focus of your entrepreneurial initiative should be on leveraging your team’s potential and communicating with them effectively. Yes, every entrepreneurial idea most often starts from an individual, but when you transition into a startup and move onto an organizational format, you must move onto a “we” mode as soon as possible. Else, you will soon be left all alone in your rocky boat of narcissistic entrepreneurship.