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Employee from Hell: The Prima Donna


This is the employee who’s either very good at what he (she) does and knows it, or just has a over-inflated opinion of his capabilities. While his confidence may be admirable, his overall attitude toward the job, you and his coworkers most definitely isn’t. He’s a high-maintenance employee who always seems to have demands, stipulations and conditions attached to his day-to-day work. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing more work for him than he’s doing for you.

The bad news is that there’s typically very little you can do to reduce this person’s sense of entitlement. It’s just part of his personality. Talking with him about is rarely a productive strategy, because he simply can’t understand why others don’t see him to be as special as he sees himself. You do have to do something though, because the attitudes of these individuals are killers of teamwork and positive work environments. There is very rarely an upside with this type of employee regardless of how skilled he may be.

It may sound a little harsh, but since fixing his behavior is a long shot at best, your best strategy is to focus on minimizing the negative impact he can have on the people around him. Try to have him working on his own as much as possible. Don’t give in to his demands. And whatever you do, avoid putting him in a leadership position. Make a point to add elements of teamwork and cooperation to his job description, and make sure you address these things come performance review time. This at least gives you the opportunity to document his self-focus should you ever need to take further action.

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