Lesson #29

You Can't Live with 'Em—How to Manage Prima Donnas, Employees Who Think “It's Not Their Job,” and the Perfectionists

You'll quickly learn in the early stages of any start-up venture that there are numerous types of employees that you'll have to manage, each a bit differently. Poor performers or high-maintenance employees with an inflated sense of self-importance require a simple solution: Take a page from Donald Trump's playbook and utter those infamous words, “You're fired.”

However, the dilemma occurs when you have high-maintenance prima donnas who believe they walk on water and who really are terrific and get the job done (and then some). What's even worse is that they believe they're irreplaceable, and so does everybody else—including you.

You really have only two choices during those early stages: You can rid your organization of this exhausting albatross. Or, you can take the more profitable route, and find a way for a peaceful coexistence by learning how to deal with the performer's shortcomings while taking advantage of his or her strengths.

Prima donnas are typically okay people deep down inside. But something went awry somewhere along the way. Either their egos were stroked disproportionally to what they achieved or they suffer from such a severe inferiority complex that they are compelled to tell anyone they can—at every opportunity—how fantastic they are. Although this might sound a bit like the description of a borderline psycho, there's a difference between ...

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