Danger! Divas in the Workplace.

Divas in Advertising AgenciesIdeopia defines itself as a creative agency. And I’ve been guilty of cutting some creatives a lot of slack – especially the really good ones – about working hours, showing up late for meetings, special office arrangement, accommodating dietary preferences, and gently phrasing feedback. Really. Mea culpa.

That era at Ideopia has ended, so I’d like to share what I’ve learned:

  1. Advertising is a team sport. Don’t hire soloists, egotists or people with fat heads. Divas should work at home and not infect the team with their sense of superiority.
  1. The best ideas almost always surges out of hard work by teams. You don’t own your idea when you have a team of 8 people serving an account, mining the client for information, and, most importantly, selling the creative. You, as a designer or writer, can put the ad in your book and claim it as your own, but we all know better.
  1. A standard interview probe should be “tell us how your team developed a great idea?” Diva warning signs: “The other people in the group weren’t pulling their weight,” or “I came up with the basic idea, and my team did an awesome job polishing it.”
  1. Perceived favoritism is toxic to teams. It places one person above the company’s needs and drops them like metal shavings into the  finely balanced team that creates ideas.

My most important job now is to feed and nurture my team, and abandon my role as creative nanny. So evaluate your divas and decide if their negative affects the performance and productivity of your larger group. If not, let them work from home, or show them the door.

Please feel free to share this column with your favorite diva.

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