This piece was originally published on Linkedin.com Pulse
All entrepreneurs are ultimately optimists. We enter business as we enter relationships – With the best intentions. This is an important aspect whether you are starting a business or indeed, finding the right employer.
Why else would you start start a business if you didn’t intend to make the most out of it?
We can’t do it alone though. Whenever I have started a business I have always tried to find symbiotic relationships. When riding the roller coaster of emotions that is entrepreneurship, not only are two heads are better than one, it also makes for a more interesting ride. This is no less true for finding the right employer.
Needless to say, we have all been there before. There is nothing worse than joining starting a business, creating your baby only to find out your colleague is an unscrupulous, selfish and greedy troll.
Like any relationship, it’s important to recognize the exit signs. Initially applied to marriage and divorce, I have found Dr John Gottman’s ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ applies equally well to professional relationships. They occur in the descending order:
Criticism of personality. This is not just grumbling about something that you have done wrong, it’s an attack at your personality or character.
Contempt. This is both verbal and physical. It is intentional condescension and the beginnings of disrespect. You should never stand being disrespected.
Defensiveness. This is the deflection of responsibility. This is where you begin to blame the other party for certain situations, or vice versa.
Stonewalling. When you are no longer invested or interested in the relationship, and therefore your business.
Be aware of these feelings and actions. Identify them and address them as early as possible if you want to salvage your company. Otherwise, consider your options.