Managing a Prima Donna Employee

Joe Weinlick
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A manager who has to deal with egotistical employees may find it difficult to successfully manage them in any type of work environment. Finding the best way to handle a prima donna employee is essential for a harmonious and productive workplace for everyone.

Allow Independence

It is important that you permit the prima donna employee to be independent. This type of employee is often confident in her abilities, and will often react negatively tomanagers who have a desire to over-supervise. If you try to micromanage one, you may cause more static and stress at work than is necessary. Avoid the urge to try to control her behavior if it is harmless, but don’t hesitate to correct her when she's wrong to improve productivity in the workplace. Giving the employee room to work alone can prevent her from causing trouble with other employees when her behavior becomes troublesome.

Offer Recognition When Appropriate

The prima donna employee often craves recognition for his efforts, and he may feel slighted if praise is not awarded. If you want to keep a prima donna employee happy, you can offer him praise to satisfy his ego. There is nothing wrong with acknowledging him for a job well done when it is truly earned. Praising this type of employee in the open is helpful for encouraging a great work performance every day.

Encourage Teamwork When Necessary

Although your prima donna employee may enjoy being the star of the workforce, it is important to encourage him to be a good team player when necessary. Do not allow him to dictate what everyone else in the team is doing when you are there to give orders to maintain a productive workplace.

Give Them the Chance to Advance

Many prima donna employees have a need to stand out because they are seeking a way to advance in their career. If your prima donna employee is an outstanding worker, you can give her the opportunity to move up the career ladder. This type of employee may really appreciate the challenges and responsibilities of acquiring a new position. Offering the prima donna employee the chance to jump into a leadership role on certain projects can help to cultivate her talents for good use.

Be Willing to Communicate

Many managers have a desire to either confront the prima donna employee or move out of his way, but this is not a good strategy. Although a prima donna employee can be annoying, fight the urge to snap back. Many egotistical workers often do not realize the impact they may have on others, so you must be willing to honestly communicate with an employee that is causing problems for the rest of the workforce. If you have to criticize him, be sure to do it in private to avoid wounding their sensitive egos.

The attitude of a prima donna employee can frustrate the inexperienced manager, but you can overcome the problem using simple management solutions. If you can help the prima donna employee channel her talents and passion into the appropriate outlets at work, she can benefit your company and its goals without becoming a burden.


Pnoto Courtesy of Stockimages on



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