I enjoy reading the LinkedIn profiles of entrepreneurs as part of my diligence of a startup. Although not everyone would agree, I think that how a person describes themself (on any channel, not just LinkedIn) tells you a lot about their character. This is true for all people, not just entrepreneurs.

For example, you can tell whether someone is concise or long-winded, impact-based or exhaustive, a credit taker or credit sharer, and substance or style-based all from their LinkedIn profile. Which trait along each dimension is valuable depends on the role for which you’re evaluating the person.

However, there’s one trait which I’ve found to be a universally bad signal. And that’s self-proclaiming. I don’t have anyone specific in mind as I share these self-proclamations, but if someone describes themself as a visionary entrepreneur, a principled leader, or a trusted advisor, red flags emerge in my mind.

The reason is that the people who are actually like that don’t need to self-proclaim themselves to be that way. They know that it shows through their actions so they let their actions do the talking.┬áIf someone needs to do the talking themself, it’s often because their actions fall short.

Also published on Medium.