How To Spot A Toxic Business Partner And Get Rid Of Them

Hilary Corna
3 min readOct 12, 2023

Only 30 percent of business partnerships succeed, but this doesn’t mean you need to completely avoid getting into one. Having a business partner gives you the advantage of more capital, tax benefits, and combined skills and knowledge, to mention a few. But to make sure you don’t fall into the 70 percent of failed partnerships, you need to learn how to spot a toxic business partner and get rid of them.

Toxic partners can put many things at risk, whether that’s relationships with other partners, the company’s financial health, or the motivation and morale of employees.

Here are signs your business partner is toxic:

#1. They don’t treat others well

Rudeness and business do not go well together. If your business partner talks down to others, blatantly disregards others’ feelings, and lacks empathy, you probably have a toxic partner.

You don’t want to drive away employees, customers, or vendors with your partners’ attitude. It wouldn’t be surprising if they wouldn’t feel bad firing a vendor and even telling a customer off. While giving constructive criticism and being assertive are important in leadership, a partner who abuses their role and belittles and ridicules others is not someone you want to keep around.

#2 They are never accountable

Everybody makes mistakes. The important thing is that you take responsibility for them and learn from your mistakes. Toxic business partners never own up to their mistakes (and are bound to repeat them). Instead, they blame others for them — the vendor, the customer, or even you. When someone refuses to accept accountability, they may resort to blaming others for mistakes or failures. This can create a toxic work environment where team members are constantly pointing fingers and deflecting responsibility.

A partner who refuses to recognize their wrongdoings can only hold back the growth of your business and cause future problems. Without accepting accountability, it becomes difficult to identify areas for improvement. When people don’t take responsibility for their actions, they are less likely to learn from their mistakes and make changes to improve…

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Hilary Corna

CEO | Founder of The Human Way | Bestselling Author | New book #UNprofessional out 9/21 | Host of the UNprofessional podcast | As seen in Forbes, Fortune, WSJ