Managing ‘Diva’ Mentality In Your Choir
Diva mentality; how to manage the unmanageable!
As time has passed, we’ve noticed within our own choir that some members have developed a “diva” mentality. This can be both distracting and difficult to handle, especially when they assume, without justification, that they deserve the elevated status they have bestowed upon themselves. So how can you handle this without hurting their feelings?
Know the difference!
Firstly, there is a difference between a high-maintenance member and a “diva.” A high-maintenance member may be demanding of your time, have low self-esteem and need constant reassurance, or maybe they need a more personal connection with you, but dealing with a “diva” is a whole other ball game! Determining the difference between these categories of the member is the first step to controlling their behaviour.
The Immediate Ego!
Some members are divas from day one; you can spot their air of confidence (and occasionally arrogance) the minute they walk through the door. These members are slightly easier to handle as you can control the behaviour from the get-go by not overindulging their already inflated egos. The minute you meet them, they’ll tell you how good they are or how much experience they have, and they will constantly be pushing you for an elevated position within the choir. Gently remind them that all members have equal standing and try not to give them positions of “power” within your organization. For example, enlisting them as helpers will only cause you problems down the line, as they start to see themselves as your eyes, ears and, worst of all, your voice, barking orders at other members and trying to control how you run everything from socials to performances!
The Slow Burner!
The second type of diva is harder to spot as they will creep up on you! They start quietly confident and, over time, become larger-than-life characters who believe their position within your choir is more important (or more needed) than anyone else. You may have chosen them for a solo because they did a great job with a particular song and deserved it, but if it goes to their head, you’re in trouble! They thrive on the status of being the soloist and love the feeling of respect and admiration they receive from their fellow choir members or audience; this will leave them wanting more. They’ll try out for every solo, even if it’s not suitable for their voice, and if you don’t give them what they crave, they’ll become demanding and pushy; this is when you need to start managing their expectations. Gently, tell them that not every song is suitable for every voice, remind them you need to give everyone the same opportunity and keep them away from positions which elevate their status within the choir; again, enlisting them as one of your helpers will only reaffirm their feelings of grandeur.
Whether the diva has an immediate ego or a slow burner, they’ll need handling with care, kindness and a firm hand. Don’t let them railroad you or give in to them just for a quiet life. Instead, give them the extra time they need but also make it clear that other members also deserve a chance, and just because they had one successful performance doesn’t give them the right to expect more. Of course, you’ll get push-back, but you’ll need to calmly handle this in the moment so they are clear on your position and who is running the show; good luck, this is not an easy one!
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