The ‘tough guy’ success myth

Everyone has a different idea of what success looks like.

SuccessFor many, it’s financial, while for others it’s success in personal relationships (although both feed into each other, but that’s a blog post for another time).

You may even have an idea of what a successful person looks like, and from that you have put together in your mind a list of must-have personality traits that are needed in order to be successful.

You may have even adopted some of these traits yourself in the belief that by acting successful, you can attract the wealth to you.

This is true, but only if you’re focusing on the right traits.

In my experience, there are some serious misconceptions as to what a successful person does and doesn’t do.

Here are some of the biggest myths:

Acting Tough

I’ve seen this one time and time again.

People throwing their weight around at work, yelling and acting like drill sergeants.

Authority is not earned in this way.

You attract respect by behaving respectfully to others, and this doesn’t include treating staff like they’re at the opposite side of the negotiating table from you.

In fact, even if you are at the other side of a negotiating table, it’s always better to play it cool, calm and collected.

And never lose your head!

Yellers may be feared (briefly), but they’re never respected.

Talk yourself up constantly

Talk YourselfEver bumped into someone at an event and asked them how they’re going, only to be hit with a list of their accomplishments and talents?

Nothing wrong with pointing out your achievements, of course, or even sharing your success with others, but keep it brief and then move on.

The strange thing about talking yourself up is that it tends to have the opposite effect of what you intended: the more someone brags about their wealth or the number of cars they have, the more insecure they look.

My number-one rule of communication?

Ask about the other person.

Place business before people

This is another common problem.

Work Life Balance1

Entrepreneurs and investors pay a lot of attention to their bottom line, and rightly so.

Sometimes, though, this can blind you.

You can become so focused on revenue and profits that you become neglectful towards your staff. (You may even neglect the customers!)

But the staff ARE your business.

They are the human capital that is extremely hard to replace, and every person who works on your business, in whatever capacity, is playing a very important role in its success.

Don’t forget this.

Make no mistakes

Look, I understand…

When you start a business and bring in staff, you want to make sure there’s no errors, especially if clients are involved.

But how realistic is that? Mistake

Let me answer for you: not very.

People are going to make mistakes and most people are very forgiving of human error because, guess what, they’re human too.

Take it from me.

The best way to minimize human error is to ensure your staff are confident and able to discuss concerns with you.

They shouldn’t be fearful or stressed as that’s when mistakes are most likely to be made.

So, in summary, lead by example and treat staff and others with respect.

That is the true personality type you need for success.

The tough guy (or woman) act is not going to impress anyone — or at least not the right people!


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Mark Creedon


Mark Creedon is Director of Metropole Business Advisory and business coach to some of Australia's leading entrepreneurs - each who call him their "unreasonable friend"
Visit Metropole Business Advisory.

'The ‘tough guy’ success myth' have 2 comments


    November 7, 2018 Sean

    Great post! Reminds me of the old adage that so many seem to have forgotten, ‘Treat others how you want to be treated’.


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