Do you have some employees or co-workers who think of themselves as extra special, indispensible and untouchable? Their superior attitude often ticks off the people who work with them. So today we look at the right and wrong way to deal with prima donnas in the workplace.
Dealing With Prima Donnas at Work
Employees and co-workers with superior attitudes see the world revolving around them and expect everyone else to bow down and kiss up (or kiss butt) to get something done. While saying “pretty please with sugar on top” might be nice, it really shouldn’t be necessary to get the person to do their job.
A misguided view: Often the prima donna forgets that his or her job function exists to support another job function. A classic example in a manufacturing plant is that the maintenance department will act as though they are doing production a favor by fixing something that is broken down. In fact the maintenance department’s customer is production. They are supposed to keep the line running and improve flow and cycle time.
In the office, a prima donna might work in accounting, reception, engineering, sales, marketing or quality. The prima donna is often a good performer who has let his or her special talents inflate the ego instead of focusing on serving others.
Managers are reluctant to address this behavior because they are lulled into a sense of complacency and fear a backlash. Plus the manager likes the work done by the person. Overall performance is usually less than it could be because the prima donna doesn’t share information or expertise very well, preferring instead to use it as a competitive advantage.
Who are the prima donnas in your work group? How does this behavior impact you as the boss or co-worker?
What NOT to do
For some clients we have facilitated “team building” sessions to help groups realize that success depends on working together. If the prima donna is in a management or supervisory role then often one-on-one coaching is part of the solution.