You have a team of collaborators who are great at what they do…

… but one of them can sometimes be a “Diva.”

They work together to find solutions, share resources and combine forces toward a common goal.  They support each other and make sure that everyone is allowed his or her moment in the limelight…

…except, the Diva

This is a challenging situation.  You need and value the incredible talents of the Diva who is on some level, irreplaceable.  And, like any good manager, you care about your team.  

How do you help the “Diva” play well with others?  And how do you help the team appreciate the Diva too?

Self-preservation, Ego and where the chips may fall: 

As with most challenges in the workplace, there is usually an element of self-preservation and ego at play.   For the Diva, it’s the protection and promotion of him (or herself.)  Knowing that he has one strong card to play, he plays it with a vengeance.  The Diva knows he can produce a “Royal Flush” and everyone will stop, look and listen, but his facility with cards alone will not win the game.

The team knows they pull 80% of the weight but are without the winning hand that the DIVA provides.  They see their day in and day out work ethic, creativity and know-how is what makes the Diva’s work shine and helps everyone take all the chips at the end.

But without the “Diva” beating the Dealers hand, winning is a lot harder. How does the team prove their worth and get the appreciation they are due?

When either the team or the Diva discounts the contribution of the other, egos get bruised and self-preservation strategies start kicking in.  

What can you do?

Coach Me Quick tips for ensuring a fair game:

  1. Acknowledge the efforts of each team member – giving specific feedback and thanks for his or her contribution.  These acknowledgements should be made both 1:1 and in front of the entire group, including the Diva.
  2. Acknowledge the Diva for his or her unique contributions in a 1:1 setting only.  The Diva will find a way to receive acknowledgement in a team setting – you do not need to create other opportunities.
  3. Invite the Diva to take on a task that may be a stretch for him.  Ask him to lead an initiative that doesn’t align directly with his talents.  This will provide a learning opportunity and a chance for some humility along the way.
  4. Find ways for each team member to shine by assigning leadership opportunities that are above and beyond their usual “nose to the grindstone” work ethic.
  5. Encourage a zero tolerance for resentment, gossip and complaining.  If team members (and this includes the Diva) are unhappy with the status quo, invite them to suggest solutions.

Understand that this is simply a matter of acknowledgement and appreciation.  If your team including the Diva feels they are truly seen for what they bring to the table, they will have less need to engage in self-preservation activities that don’t support your team as a whole.