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When prima donnas refuse to work

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in Leaders & Managers,People Management

Tenured, experienced and high-­performing teammates can decide they are simply “too good” to complete certain duties.

While you should make the best use of employees’ time by matching assignments to their skills, all teammates at times will need to suck it up and complete humdrum tasks, even if they feel the work is beneath them.

To encourage a prima donna to chip in, follow this strategy:

State specifically what you want. Explain in detail what you expect the employee to complete, how you want the work completed and a deadline for finishing the work.

Be direct. If the employee resists, don’t coddle the person. Say: “I have assigned these tasks to you, and therefore, they are your responsibility. We all need to work together to make sure all the work is done.”

Set the person straight. If the person still resists, get tough. Say: “Just because you have done well/worked here for a long time, it doesn’t exempt you from doing tasks that you dislike.” If the person turns in lackluster work as a way to get out of doing it, let that reflect on his or her performance reviews, bonuses and so on.

— Adapted from “Dealing with a Prima Donna Employee,” Lou Dubois, Inc., www.inc.com.

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