People to Keep Out of Your Canoe at All Costs

By Nathan Mersereau

LinkedIn_5PeopleOUTWhile a relaxing day in a canoe can sound appealing, it can quickly turn sour if you don’t enjoy the people you’re with. Building relationships with quality people is essential for success. The wrong person on the team can spoil the entire group dynamic. Your results will be mediocre and much of your time will be filled with frustration as you deal with the bad apple.

As you build your organization and pursue your goals, think carefully about who should be in your canoe. After all, you are a reflection of the company you keep. There are lots of people to steer clear of. Here are a few examples of red flags to watch for:

  1. Lots of baggage. If someone brought five suitcases with them for a canoe trip, it would significantly slow down progress and jeopardize the entire excursion. People with lots of baggage can have traits and habits that are equally damaging. These include being self-absorbed, having a sense of entitlement, and blind spots that limit effective communication and collaboration with others. We all have some quirks and areas in which we can improve, but it’s wise for you to purposefully sidestep drama-prone people carrying excess emotional baggage.
  2. Questionable integrity. Trust is essential for business relationships to thrive. If the person in your canoe is saying one thing, but doing another, it’s an immediate warning sign. The adage, “Your actions are speaking so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying” is especially relevant when dealing with someone with integrity issues. If you sense a lack of integrity in the person you’re dealing with, move on because you simply won’t be able to fix them.
  3. Bad attitude. If someone has a chronically negative view of life, has a chip on their shoulder, loves to complain or always plays the victim, watch out. These people will usually draw attention to themselves and distract (or irritate) others. Individuals with bad attitudes often spend far more time and energy telling you about the problem than attempting to actually devise a solution.
  4. Doesn’t play well with others. Have you ever met someone who had all the answers and wanted to prove how smart they were (often at the expense of others)? These people have a level of insecurity that creates a need to be right at all costs. They tend to have dominant, self-absorbed personalities. They may have a lot of talent, but if they don’t fit into a team, they will have limited value when pursuing a collective vision.
  5. Sucks the life out of you. People will either bring positive energy into a relationship or take it away. There will be times when you have differences in opinions with others and that’s fine. You can often create better solutions by working through conflict. But there are people who will simply suck the life out of you and who make it impossible for a positive outcome. They’re easy to identify, they’re emotional vampires. They demand both time and attention to address their needs and drama, which robs you of more productive and rewarding pursuits. Think about who they are in your life and avoid them. If they’re in your canoe right now, figure out a way to toss them out.

Knowing who you don’t want in your canoe is just as important as knowing who you need in it. You’ll experience clarity around decision-making, which will lead to a sense of freedom. Life is short; make sure you’re spending it with the right people.

 

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