This article is part of the Video series: Typologies of difficult colleagues and employees. We invite you to watch the videos of the typologies at this link. (The video series is available RO only.)
What happens when people are not on the same page? Imbalances appear. Do you recognize colleagues or employees who show traits such as: gossipy, perfectionist, shy, analytical, handsome, hostile / aggressive or whiny? If you answered yes to any, this series, Types of colleague or difficult employees, is for you.
In order to know how to behave with the “Prince Charming” problem-employee, let’s take look at some analogies with the fairy tale’s character. The same as in the fairy tale, the “Prince Charming” employee behaves with arrogance, overestimating their qualities and competences.
Prince Charming is the main, positive character, hero in many Romanian folktales. In one of the most appreciated fairytales written by Petre Ispirescu, Prince Charming, as a kid, was prankish and naughty even before being born.
Still in his mother belly, the queen, he refuses to be born, even though the king promises him “anything that he [Prince Charming] wishes from this world”. Only when he is granted eternal youth and life he is born, bringing happiness to the whole kingdom.
When Prince Charming is 15 years old, because his father cannot keep his promise, he decides to leave his home, in search of eternal youth and life.In order to know how to behave with a “Prince Charming” employee we need to know the following:
How do we recognize Prince Charming?
- Everything starts and ends with them.·
- They are pretentious, they know everything and they lived everything that can be professionally lived.
- They exaggerate their success, they believe that they are thoughtful, fascinating and charismatic; instead, they are only proud and arrogant.
- They are exceptional in everything and they deserve more than the others.
- They take great care of their image and show an extroverted personality.
- They surround themselves with flatterers and flatter those from whom they can profit of.
- They have difficulties in maintaining healthy relationships.
- They can’t stand to be contradicted and live with the belief that the other people envy them.·
- They create stories about their past, sprinkling with resounding successes.
- They are careful to be dressed in the latest fashion and extremely concerned with the way they are perceived by others
How does Prince Charming behave in relationship with others?
- They ask for attention and favours, without reciprocating.
- When discussing with others, the monopolize the dialogue.
- They can talk on and on about their activities, successes, holidays etc.
- They manifest themselves with disgust for people that they consider inferiors and for whom they don’t have anything to gain from.
- They are good manipulators, using people in regards of their own objectives.
- If a colleague or manager sees through their façade, they start to bad-mouth them.
- They like to joke about others, but they can’t stand jokes on their regard.
- They do not hesitate to humiliate or denigrate their colleagues if that makes them be seen in a favorable light.
What are the consequences of keeping Prince Charming in the company?
The arrogance makes them blind to analysing correctly the situations they’re in. Even when they have simple decisions to make, they act subjective. They create conflicts and a gossip culture in the teams they are part of. They are surfing from one organization to another, they make a good impression at first, but after the time passes, they underperform and destabilize the team they are part of. Self-sufficiency and arrogance makes them enter conflict and attack the authority of managers. The consequences of keeping such employees in a team are not favorable for the company.
How do you act, as a manager, with the Prince Charming employee?
- You need to act with calmness and lucidity. Make sure that the objectives and the standards are clear in order to correctly evaluate them.
- Do not offend them, don’t be sarcastic and don’t criticize them in front of their colleagues.
- Avoid direct threats and keep your calm.
- Once you have noticed the behaviours listed above, it is important to not linger in taking a decision.
- Establish regular performance evaluation meetings.
- Arm yourself with concrete data: monthly reports, assumed objectives that are not done, proofs, unmet deadlines. Together with the employee establish the consequences of not respecting the objectives and apply them.
- If you want to add pressure on them, ask for the daily reports.
- As a last aid for supporting their changes in better, turn to a coach that would work with the employee. In most cases, this offer results in changes in both in attitude and technical area.
During my first years as a manager I used to be an idealist. I strongly believed that I can change difficult people, that I am capable to motivate them in order to make them perform. I had good results with some of them. With others I wasted my time and energy.
Moreover, in some situations, I lost performant employees, keeping those with attitudinal and behavioural problems more than I needed. As managers, we don’t always have the necessary experience in order to be objective when we hire new people. The ideal solution would be to be more efficient during the selection and recruiting phase and not to bring those who seem to have behavioural problems in your team.
If they still became a part of your department, you offered them the needed opportunities in order to change and they did not, I highly recommend applying the following principle: some people bring happiness wherever they go, others bring happiness when they go.
Author Iulian Penescu, Senior Trainer and CEO Dynamic Learning