Merriam-Webster defines a prima donna as a “vain or undisciplined person,” but most of those who work with them have a much more colorful definition.
While most prima donnas bring some unique strengths and skill sets to the table, managing this type of employee can present a real challenge because of problems getting along with other employees, failure to follow directions, unreasonable demands, etc.
Almost always, managers end up asking themselves: Is this high-maintenance staffer really worth all of the aggravation?
One of the best ways to make that determination is by answering the following questions first:
- How is this employee affecting others’ morale? (are good staffers jumping ship — or threatening to — because of a said employee’s diva-like behavior, etc.)
- How much extra time is spent dealing with this employee and his/her drama?
- Is this employee really the only person who can handle the assignment?
The answers should help to shed some light on how to handle the situation.
Sometimes severing ties with a problem employee can provide a much-needed boost to your entire department. Example: Employees scramble to fill the void caused by the prima donna’s absence and morale skyrockets. You may also discover other staffers have previously untapped skills.