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The Manager

How to manage a superstar Add to ...

Do you have a Keith Olbermann on staff? Mr. Olbermann is the television whirlwind who manages to pull in large audiences wherever he goes but eventually his prima donna ways lead him to be fired, most recently from MSNBC.

On his Next Level blog, Scott Eblin offers three tips for managing a superstar with a penchant for stirring up trouble:

Caveat emptor: When you hire a superstar, beware. Know what you are buying and why you are buying it. MSNBC executives knew what they were getting when they hired Mr. Olbermann, as his track record included several employment relationships ending miserably. But they got eight years out of him, longer than other employers did.

Keep your cool: Don't get sucked into the dramas that inevitably churn around difficult superstars. "You're going to need to keep your cool to be objective when things blow up. When that happens, it's helpful to know the difference between a relatively minor burp and the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Work on keeping your cool so you can keep your head and make the right decisions," Mr. Eblin advises.

Keep a running tally of costs and benefits: Continually assess how the relationship with the star player is working. When current and future costs outweigh the benefits of keeping the person on staff, move on. "The future of your organization may depend on it," he stresses.

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