How to Deal with a Diva

Dog in sitting position with diva bowlAhh, the PR industry. A conundrum of personality types and then some. You’re all aware that being able to work well with different people is one of the best skills you could possibly bring to the table in PR, correct? Great!

So what to do, what to do when we’ve got a diva on our hands?

Tell-tale signs of The Diva are as follows:

  • She (or he) argues for the sake of arguing.
  • She is always right.
  • She never sees your side of the story.
  • She is the best.
  • Etc., etc., etc.

Knowing this does us no good unless we know how to deal with Her.

If you’ve got a diva on your hands, here’s what to do and what not to do in the interest of smooth sailing:

  • Communicating via e-mail: this one is dicey. E-mails are good for clarity. She can never claim you said something otherwise because there is written proof. E-mails, on the other hand, are not good for many reasons when it comes to divas, including but not limited to: the opportunity for misinterpretation; passive aggressiveness; disingenuous babble; etc.
  • Do stay calm. No matter how much this girl can raise her voice and blow things out of proportion, the cooler you stay, the better the outcome.
  • Don’t place blame. There’s that rule that @stina6001 and I used quite often as resident assistants together. It’s not “you did this wrong…” It comes out much better as “this happened, and it made me feel this way…” (insert appropriate feelings).
  • Do remain professional. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together for a passion and a paycheck. Check your ego at the door and remember why you have the job you do.
  • Don’t bring up personal stuff. So Diva confided in you something personal. That’s nice. But recall that part about remaining professional. Never, no matter how low she stoops, bring up something personal and hurtful that won’t only damage feelings but might also have the same end product on your career.
  • Don’t get wrapped up in Diva’s drama. It’s a dark, messy spiral and most divas like to suck more people into the twister. Maintain your ground young grasshopper.

So much more to include, but I’d like to leave that up to you. Share your diva-disaster-dodging tactics and fun stories!

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  • jolynnelyon

    Great post, great advice! Sadly I've messed up on a point or two, but here are some things that have helped me: I remember that “Diva” got where he or she is because of true ability, and they have to live in their own skin 24/7, while my contact with them is usually brief. I'm happier when I keep those things in mind.

  • susan76

    PR is a woman-dominated industry, with much sexism towards men. The Diva is everywhere and usually fighting with another, egotistical Diva. I just feel bad for the men. Sports PR is probably different though.

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  • Let's be clear here: although you refer to “the diva” as “Her,” they can just as easily be “Him” as well. I've seen firsthand situations on both sides of the fence, and your tips are good. Basically, the more you keep your relationship professional-only in nature, the better.

    @JasonSprenger

  • Thanks for the comment, Jason! So true. I tried to fit in “he” up at the top 😉 But we do work in a female-dominated profession. Sad when anyone acts like a diva.

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