We all love a good Diva. Well we do when it involves VH1, People, Star, and Reality Rehab Shows. But in the workplace? I think not. As it turns out – and I know you all can attest to this – corporate America is a veritable breeding ground for Divas. While the term originates from a feminine derivation of “god“, it has universally come to be used disparagingly for someone who acts overly entitled…male or female. Sound familiar?
We all have to deal with big shots at work. We depend upon them to make rain, to wow our clients, to come up with the next big thing, to dazzle us with their ingenuity and creativity. And, like it or not, these big shots typically have a lot to do with our success. But does that entitle them to special treatment or dispensation? I’m not talking about policies, safety, or law. The Walls of Shame are lined with big shots who broke the law, got caught, and are now either in jail or dead (by their own hand) as a result. I’m talking about the simple, yet presumably important stuff…stuff that forms our environment. Do they get away with blatant incivility because they’re “just too important to the company?” Are they afforded the occasional yelling, screaming, and scratching fit because that’s “just the way they are?” For fear of alienating your most important asset(s), could you conceivably put a big shot on a Performance Improvement Plan for an undesirable behavior if (s)he were also producing at that game-changer level? Really?
There is a school of HR pros out there that will live and die by the sword of justice – one for all and all for one – when it comes to dealing with Divas. They will attempt to treat them no differently than any one else. Noble for sure. There is a smaller school that says let a Diva have it their way; the benefit, after all, outweighs the risk. Honestly, I’m not sure where I went to school on this one. It’s admittedly not black or white. But I believe there is at least some level of entitlement that can be earned in the workplace. And I’m not so sure HR necessarily gets to draw the line on how much entitlement will be endured. I think we need to get comfortable with that fact that ‘fairness’ does not mean ‘equality’…especially when dealing with people who are arguably essential to your organization’s success (and your job).
Check Out Fistful of Talent for Another Perspective – When Exceptions Should NOT be Made