Working With A Prima Donna Is A Really Tough Job

I am a member of a 3 member team.I have this really headstrong team member who was preparing for an exam due to which I took on a major part of the load for the project. This person refused to listen to anything that made sense regarding the topic to be chosen for project work despite the fact that I was asking a very experienced person for help in this direction. Even though she had no idea or experience she did not agree with what more knowledgeable people had to say. She then stopped talking to me completely and never bothered to reply to my mails till I came to the point that the arguement was too much to take that I decided to let her do what she wanted.

This made stuff end in a total jeopardy and I felt really bad about the way she just projected herself and because of several sleepless nights I was able to complete the major portion of the project. How should I deal with such people in future? Even now, I feel that she will not hesitate to fool me and behave smart with me. She cannot bear anyone to coment on her work and she says that I better not change any documentation she has done. At the same time, she says she has a better understanding of my part and she wants to do the documentation for that. Please tell me how to deal with this person?

The Team Doc Says…

Seems like there are a few different things going on here. Where is your team leader when all of this is occurring?

I've worked in a small team like this with a Prima Donna who regularly snubs others and it's not a pleasant situation. It's not like you can avoid the person — after all you have a job to do.

In the future, make sure you have roles on the project clarified. At the beginning of the project, sit down and decide who will do task A, B and C and who will do task D, E, and F. Make sure you identify any task that is dependent on other tasks being completed and any hard deadlines.

Complete an action plan that details this information and then set up a “touch base” meeting every week to ensure things are on track.

Make sure to keep your manager or team leader in the loop. That way, if things go south, you'll have the support of leadership to help you solve the problem.

I have two Kindle books that may help you in the future too. The first, How to Clarify Team Roles So Nothing Falls Through the Cracks, can help you go through a role clarity process that makes sure everyone understands exactly what they are supposed to to. And the second, How to Improve Team Member Accountability can help your team put processes in place so each team member holds up their part of the accountability bargain they have made with the team.

Note: You don't need a Kindle to read the books. All you need is the free Kindle app for any device.

About Denise O'Berry

Denise O'Berry is President of The Small Business Edge Corp, a small business consulting firm. A small business owner since 1996, Denise understands the challenges facing small business. She's lived them herself and helped hundreds of clients work through the frustrations, fears, and joys of owning a small business. Denise is the author of Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success, a practical guide about keeping the cash in your business - where it belongs. Find more resources and tips at deniseoberry.com and askteamdoc.com