Almost everyone you speak to knows at least one superstar employee. These are the people among us who are incredibly talented, but don’t have the attitude to match. In the last of the Better At Work Series for 2018, this post looks at how to handle these colleagues. What’s a superstar colleague?
A super-talented colleague whose attitude is the exact opposite of the results they can achieve. It’s highly likely that for as many wins this person has, such as exceeding their sales targets or being a coding genius, they don’t contribute to a positive workplace culture.
Superstar employees can perform the technical aspects of their role exceptionally well, but might ignore the tedious parts of their job, or maybe their attitude towards others in the workplace needs adjusting – either way, the end result is that you dread interacting with this high-performer.
What can you do?
While dealing with a superstar colleague depends on the problem you’re facing, but there a few things you can do to alleviate a bad situation.
1. Realise this person’s behaviour is outside of your control
It’s not always easy to do, but accepting that you can’t control how someone will behave can be hugely beneficial. It will stop you trying (maybe on a daily basis) to fix this person’s behaviour when that is just not possible.
When you stop focusing on the superstar and their behaviour, chances are it will bother you less. That’s not to say you should condone or accept bad behaviour – just move on from it as much as possible. Also, if their conduct merits involving HR or your supervisor, make sure you seek any necessary support.
2. Be professional, polite and outcome focused
When the office superstar is treating everyone else like dirt under their shoe, it can be hard to force a smile or deliver a polite reply to their emails. That said, there’s good reason to take the high road.
Put simply, you should not let someone else’s unprofessionalism impact your behaviour in the workplace. Stooping to their level will not win you any friends, and any wins you do have will likely be short-lived. In short, just like the superstar, let your work do the talking.
3. Remind yourself everyone has different skill sets
This last tip will come in handy for the times you’re dealing with someone who is unaware of how they treat people.
Not everyone has great people skills, plain and simple. Sometimes, the person you’re dealing with is incredibly talented in their field, but is not a stellar communicator and can’t convey all the information they know. Add to that a layer of frustration on their part because not everyone else has the same understanding, and there you have it – the perfect recipe for unpleasant interactions in the workplace.
In these cases, if you’re the one in the conversation with stronger people skills – use them to build common ground. It might not always work, but you’ll feel better for trying and you might build a bridge with one of your colleagues.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the Better At Work Series, see you next year!