I published an article early in 2011 about dealing with prima donna salespeople, and got a lot of feedback that the article was very popular online.

One of the issues I pointed out in that article is that we sales managers often have a part in creating the prima donnas in the first place.

How? By leaving them alone over many months, taking a “hands off” style (which is a nicer way of saying a lack of management) rather than providing them with continued and ongoing communication.

We also contribute if we fail to communicate our expectations, or set standards, on anything other than production. And a standard is only a standard if you coach to it on an on-going basis. So, naturally, top producers think sales production is the only thing that’s important to the manager because it’s the only topic that ever gets discussed.

If you are frustrated by one or more Prima Donna reps then at least part of the solution is for you, the manager, to look in the mirror and ask, “What possible role did I have in allowing this situation to develop? And, more importantly, “What changes do I need to make going forward to prevent future Prima Donnas?” What you don’t confront, you condone.

(Next time: How to Manage a Prima Donna)