How To Work with a Prima Donna

Prima donnas are the kind of people who carry around a strong sense of entitlement and accord great importance to themselves. They are normally arrogant and insensitive to the feelings of their colleagues. They expect to receive praises and commendations for exerting very little amounts of effort in their work. Dealing with an officemate with this attitude can be difficult and extremely stressful. However, since the success of an organization depends on peaceful collaboration among its members, learning to manage difficult people such as a prima donna is a useful skill.

In this article you will find several tips on how to handle working with a prima donna. 

Act confidently.  Show prima donnas that you are not a pushover. Prima donnas usually operate by intimidating compliant colleagues. Seize opportunities offered by the management, which can be beneficial to your career. Offer opinions and recommendations during brainstorming sessions and meetings. By taking a stand, you show a prima donna that you are not easily threatened.

Do not be afraid to challenge, when needed. If you find yourself disagreeing with prima donnas, do not hesitate to state your case. Have clear arguments to defend your case and state the reasons for your disagreement frankly. Be very candid about your criticisms but avoid being destructive. Remember to challenge ideas and never the person. 

Learn how to negotiate. Prima donnas will normally try to dominate the conversation and impose his ideas. Accede to points you think are correct but suggest that you take opinion of the other members of the team too. In meetings or discussions, encourage compromises that fairly delegate tasks to each member of the team.

Do not attack head-on. Inevitably, working with prima donnas will push you to your limit. Remember to keep a level head when this time comes. Do not engage prima donnas in a heated word war as this can only worsen the tension within your group. Candidly reprimanding  prima donnas for their attitude only causes antagonism that limits your group's productivity.

Engage in a one-on-one conversation. The best way to call out prima donnas for their attitude is through subtle, diplomatic discussion.  Dress up negative appraisals with positive statements. Instead of giving firm admonitions, state recommendations about how to improve their performance in the office. Remember to be consultative and respectful in your approach .

Be honest and make a definitive choice. Assess your tolerance and decide finally if you can continue to work with prima donnas. Depending on the nature of your office, you can either request to be re-assigned or to quit the organization all together. No matter what your choice is, you will eventually have to state your reasons to the management. Consider all these factors in weighing the pros and cons of your options. Once you've made a decision, carry out accordingly and prepare for the consequences.

In every step of your career, it is highly probable that you will be obliged to work with difficult people. Simply accept the reality of your situation and do not let it encumber you from working exceptionally. The only way to survive working with this sort of people is to not let them get the better of you.


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