Do it my way – and now is good!

A ‘prima donna’ is an Italian word meaning ‘first woman’ or ‘first Lady’. The prima donna can be the leading lady in a performance, and especially in opera.

In business however a prima donna is non-gender specific and takes on a whole new meaning!-

– In a restaurant a prima donna can be an experienced waiting person who delights customers but no one else!    Non-team players who like to do things their own way. If pressed they may threaten to leave and sooner or later  will follow through on the threat, believing that you are sunk without them.
– In a manufacturing environment they are usually very experienced people who will tolerate authority, but when  pressed will produce the industrial stick
– In a sales team they are often the top performer. The like to run their own race, are highly resistant to being  measured and have little to no interest in attending sales meetings. When asked to assist junior salespeople they  have little interest apart from doing anything that might make them look good
– In a salon they are typically a senior and very experienced stylist who believes they possess near god-like  qualities. They will determine not only the hours they work, but also the salary, the clients they want to choose  and to reject, and have little to no interest in apprentices. They have absolutely no interest at all in attending  meetings and make their own decision as to selling the salons’ haircare products.
– In a partnership they are typically a driven entrepreneur who possibly even founded the company. Whilst they  might operate in the business they have little interest in structure, meetings, and working hours not to mention c  conventional remuneration. Their ideas are almost always the best and other partners’ ideas may be considered  or possibly discarded completely  

Whilst some of these might be extreme examples, prima donnas exist in small business right through to major corporations. Their behaviours are mostly consistent with what they want first often at the expense of others. In small business the consequences around having prima donnas on the team can range from distracting to very damaging.

Prima donnas in small business are not born – they are made! As they are often either high performers and/or have some sort of leverage they can wield, business owners often choose to take no action either out of fear or uncertainty – or both.

When prima donnas leave in search of new places to wreak havoc, the end result is almost always – peace and harmony! Suddenly the air seems clearer, your blood pressure returns to normal, you stop complaining about them and start to focus again on the future!

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