6 Tips on How to Manage “Divas” in the Workplace

May 15, 2023 in HR Best Practices



The word “diva” no longer refers exclusively to a distinguished female opera star. There can also be divas in the workplace.

In recent years, the term has commonly been used to describe any difficult employee, who:

  • is used to getting what they want;
  • thinks they need no guidance or management;
  • lives for drama in the workplace;
  • is hyper-critical, sensitive and intolerant;
  • is great at what they do.

If you have one or more divas in the workplace, you need to learn how to keep them in line without driving them out the door.  You need to find a way for your employees to co-exist peacefully and productively.  Here are some techniques for reigning in this high performing – albeit challenging – type of employee:

1. Nip Annoying Behaviors in the Bud

Discuss problematic behaviors immediately – before they develop into patterns.  This allows you to address issues without releasing a wave of emotional build-up.

2. Act Based on Facts – Not Gossip or Rumor

Too often, co-workers compound problems by spreading gossip.  So when drama unfolds, don’t assume what others tell you is true.  If you haven’t witnessed a diva’s inappropriate behavior yourself, look into it further.  Listen to both sides of the story, to be sure you get all the facts.

3. Keep Open Lines of Communication

Divas need to vent more than other employees.  Keep drama to a minimum by maintaining an “open door” policy.  If a diva has a chance to voice frustrations to you, he will be less likely to stir up conflict with other employees.

4. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Never stand around arguing with a diva.  Make your point once, clarify if necessary, and move on.  A difficult employee may get a rise out of seeing you lose your cool, so stay calm and positive.  If you need to, walk away from the situation and come back once you’ve regained your composure.

5. Make Your Diva Part of the Solution

Give your problematic employee the opportunity to help develop a solution to the problem.  They are more likely to implement behavior change if they’re at least partly responsible for developing it.

6. Get Outside Help

If sparks fly when you and your diva communicate, ask a neutral third party to step in.  With no ulterior motive or emotional ties to the situation, an objective individual may improve how you communicate and work together.

At Kinsa Group, with 38 years in this business and over 1,150 exceptional employees placed in the last two decades alone, we provide a range of recruiting and assessment services that identify potentially difficult candidates – and keep them out of your talent pool. Contact us to find out more about our recruiting and assessment services.

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