13 Red Flag Warnings You Should Never Ignore In Business & Life

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A red flag is a signal for caution and when you ignore it, you feel pain and frustration and it happens a lot in business. When it happens in life, it can easily spill over into your business. Why? Because we get drained.

The first step is to acknowledge the red flags that come up and take responsibility for the times you ignored them. 

If you’re a CEO, an entrepreneur or business owner and you’re on a journey of growth, it’s important you bring awareness to when you shift blame onto other people. 

Many red flags are in relation to business, but they also relate to personal relationships and things outside of work. If there are red flags in your business, it’s likely they will be happening in your personal life too.

When you have emotional intelligence you can remove your emotions from situations so you don’t ignore red flags, let things slide, and allow the thing you should have dealt with to become normal.

If you’re in a conversation and you feel a shift of energy within you, that’s your red flag; when you’re in tune with your body you can nip your red flags in the bud quickly. 

If as you’re reading this you realize you need to address something, please do it. In many cases, a red flag that came up three months or ago a year ago is still happening now. Address it and deal with it now.

A red flag is not always the reason to stop or end something. A red flag is a signal to be cautious; it’s something you need to notice because it keeps repeating itself so you need to shut it down or disengage from it. 

Your personal experiences will bring up red flags because you’re going to have certain things you don’t deal with because it brings up too much pain from your past. A lot of your red flags come from the experiences you’ve gone through. 

Sometimes the struggle of growing a business is that you experience new things that are painful – you may have been betrayed, or a team member may have caused problems and you know it’s something that can’t happen again. At the same time, you also need to be aware that if something has happened in the past, you also need to be flexible in understanding that the same experiences might not happen again with a different new person.

You don’t want to bring negative assumptions into your next relationship. That’s not healthy. 

I’m going to with you a number of red flags that maybe you can start to spot in the future. These are the red flags to watch out for. 

1. Values Simply Don’t Align

A red flag is something completely outside of your values. If someone says or does something and it doesn’t align with your values or how you want to operate your business that’s a huge red flag.

This is definitely about personal integrity. If I’m interviewing someone and I ask a leading question and they respond with something completely against my values, integrity, and how I do business I won’t hire them. 

2. Speaking Down To You

How people speak to other people is really important and definitely applies to life and business. If you have a conversation with someone and they constantly put other people down to make themselves look better, that’s definitely a red flag. 

People can have bad days and everyone gets frustrated in certain situations, but it’s still a flag.

3. Withholding Payments

Withholding is about the lack of integrity, When someone withholds payment or a service without an explanation or for a reason that doesn’t feel right to you that should raise a red flag for you. 

4. Underdelivering

People who don’t deliver the promises they made or fail to be a person of their word should be a huge warning to you. 

Not admitting it and not putting things right can be very common in the business world. 

5. Lying

When I’m in a meeting, coaching, or interviewing people I use Zoom to read body language. It helps me to tell when someone is lying. Lying leads to future distrust so it should be a huge red flag. 

6. Poor Integrity

This spans many different areas. You’ve got to think about what integrity is to you. 

The very first thing I teach in the Super High Performance Formula is about having integrity with yourself. Saying, doing, and following through on something is so important because every time you move from integrity with yourself you feel it.  You’ll feel it in anxiety, stress, and in overwhelm.

Your soul always knows whether something is right or not.

Your soul is always speaking to you. If you do something for validation, even though there’s a part of you that feels and senses that this isn’t right you’re going to have repercussions. That may not be instantly, but months later you look back and acknowledge you shouldn’t have done the thing you did.

7. Failing To Show Up 

Sometimes people forget, things get busy and you let things slip. 

When someone continues to fail to show up and you continue to put yourself in a situation that’s on you for allowing that behavior to continue. That’s about your lack of boundaries. 

8. Bad Attitude

No-one wants to be on the receiving end of a bad attitude. Some people walk around with a chip on their shoulder and bad attitude because they have grudges, things they need to let go of or they need to forgive.

If someone is skilled at what they do, but have a wired-in bad attitude, there’s no way I’m going to bring them onto my team because negative energy seeps into lots of different areas of relationship and business. . 

9. Bad Communication

Lack of communication is definitely a big red flag. The ability to communicate feelings, to speak up about what’s real, and navigate a conversation even though it’s difficult is really important. 

If someone doesn’t want to, and can’t communicate, it’s very hard to move through and solve challenges or problems that come up. 

Communication is a skill I love to teach. It’s a skill that I think that a lot of people need to develop and get better at – there are depths to communication which you may not have right now, but you can keep mastering. 

You need to find out the best way to communicate. You need to ask people questions and get to know them. 

Timing is important, and an understanding of what’s happening. Become acutely aware of the right time for different types of conversations.- you shouldn’t go into conversations when clearly someone’s emotional. When you do that you’re putting your own needs first. 

10. Immaturity

Many people are adulting, going through a stage of life acting as a teenager in an adult’s body. 

We’re all maturing and evolving, but immaturity is about attitude; constantly being immature brings up red flags. 

The conversations you have, the people you surround yourself with, your willingness to have honest, raw conversations, and being open to feedback you don’t take offense to but resonate with, is how you mature over time. 

11. Controlling Behavior

People who don’t feel safe in certain situations need to control – their nervous system needs to control to feel safe. 

That can be detrimental in business and in personal relationships. 

There are levels of control. It’s really important to be in control and have an authentic power to take hold of something, but it’s different to being controlling. In a business environment, if you hold onto everything and don’t give someone else the ability to do things on their own, you’re not allowing them to grow.

You can usually tell by someone’s demeanor, attitude, and language how controlling they are. 

You’ve probably experienced being around someone’s controlling energy. You’ve been looked down on and they speak at you instead of with you. You feel like you don’t even want to speak to that person, you need to avoid them and you become distant. 

In business, it becomes challenging for the dynamics of a team – if you have someone who’s controlling and have other people trying to do their jobs but they don’t feel like they can approach the controlling person, then communication breaks down. 

12. Rushing For Personal Gain 

Someone who has an energy of impatience to move something forward too fast is definitely a red flag. 

You need to sense that because you want to ask questions around why they want things to happen so quickly? Sometimes things need to happen more slowly in order for it to blossom in a way that is more fruitful to the outcome of the mission or the relationship. 

When there’s an impatience it can’t evolve and flow naturally as it could.

13. Failure To Say Sorry

When people can’t apologize it’s through stubbornness.

During my growth, I have trained myself to apologize quickly versus punishing people, I admire people that hold their hands up and say they are wrong before I call them out on it.

When you’re being stubborn and you’re not admitting the truth, you create a black ball. 

A form of manipulation is when people know that they’ve done something but won’t speak about it. They know you know, but no one wants to speak about it. 

The faster you apologize the better. You will naturally have a slight delay until your self-awareness drops in, but the moment you feel it is the time for you to reach out and send the message of apology.

It’s about taking the next step in your evolution and growth and coming back into alignment.

It feels good to let go of stubbornness and shorten the gap of an apology from weeks to days, to a moment; if I’m in a conversation and my ego overrides and I say something I shouldn’t, I address it straight away before the other person has a chance to take offense. I love that I’m at the level where I do that, and I really appreciate that in other people. 

When you’re aware of the red flags that exist you can address them faster, because when you do, there’s less pain, sadness, worry, and frustration.

When you take responsibility and admit the thing you avoided early on is still causing pain, can give yourself freedom.

If something that has happened, are you to blame because you avoided a red flag? Now you have some awareness you can begin to take responsibility personally and within your business.

If you are a business owner who wants to get very strong at holding firm boundaries, check out the Super High Performance Formula.

Hosted by
Simon Lovell

Featured on Forbes.com and Entrepreneur, Simon Lovell coaches and mentors top CEOS, entrepreneurs, and leaders on emotional intelligence, fulfillment, and happiness so they can reach the next level of impact. He is author of The Black Ball: Does Anybody Else Have A Secret & the host of Unshakeable Leaders Podcast.

His loving but NO BS approach and super strong accountability in his signature 6-week program The Super High-Performance Formula has been called 'profound' and 'life-changing'.

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