FlourishAnyway is an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist with applied experience in corporate human resources and consulting.
Girl, How Awesome Are You?
Fiery. Demanding. High maintenance. And that's you on a good day at the office.
Girl, you are the Office Diva, and you have decided to embrace the goddess that you are. Let 'em call you what they will. (We all know haters gonna hate.) But just know this: When it comes to how you do your work, you got it goin' on. And on and on.
You're competent, confident, and educated. You're classy, sassy, and at the top of your game. Actually, sis, you own the game.
Some have tried to bring you down, but girlfriend, you ain't fallin'. No, you keep gettin' back up, beatin' those odds. Now you shine so bright that the rest of those cube dwellers are gonna need sunshades.
That's because ain't no one comes close to you—unless you let 'em.
Pop Diva Katy Perry: International Smile
Don't Deny Your Divadom
Dang, girl! Is this you? Are you that good?
Being the Office Diva is an art. There are imitators, impersonators, and a whole lot of wannabes. But you—well, lady, you are the real deal.
Let's Get the Definition Straight
Wikipedia defines "diva" as a woman of outstanding talent, typically including celebrities such as singers and actresses. It's an Italian word that first applied to opera singers.
But we're expanding that definition to dynamos in any work domain, such as politics, sports, and the media. We're also including those power-house employees who are the brains and the talent behind businesses both big and small.
Whether you're the Diva of Data, a Sales Diva, or the goddess of any niche in between ... you know who you are.
Reader Poll: How's Your Tiara?
Broadcasting Diva Oprah Winfrey
Rule 1: Cultivate Expertise by Finding a Need, Then Filling It
Girl, you know you're great at your job, but tell us this: What is your expertise?
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- "I analyze data so business numbers tell a convincing story."
- "I recruit top sales talent for the world's largest consumer products company."
- "I help food manufacturers achieve USDA and FDA compliance."
When people ask you what you do, don't bore them with your job title. That means nothing. Instead, take it as an opportunity to describe your expertise.
Most people can claim expertise in something, even if it's very narrow. However, they may not
- realize it
- know how to succinctly package it for communication
- understand how to demonstrate its relevance and value to those who need it or
- grow and transform their expertise to keep pace with change.
Political Diva Hillary Clinton
Expertise Requires Seasoning
Experts lay claim to a specific practice area. Others turn to them for answers and advice regarding their subject matter knowledge.
In many fields, it takes as long as 10,000 hours of deliberate practice—or about 10 years' experience—to be regarded as an expert.1 Thus, becoming an expert and the Office Diva involves professional "seasoning."
The Office Diva finds her professional niche based on her experience, natural affinity for a specialty, and what talents are in demand. She finds a business need and then fills it. Strategic, the Office Diva carves out her niche based not only on what her employer needs but also on where her field or industry is going.
Whereas her specialty area might bore, overwhelm, or confuse others, the diva is delighted that it does, because that allows her the opportunity to shine more brightly. She acquires respect as she shares answers and solutions.
The Office Diva understands that finding a valued niche means that her reputation and credibility grow along with her knowledge. As her expertise becomes more well-known, she acquires more influence, power, and control.
As this occurs, the Office Diva discovers that she can increasingly name her price, her terms, and even have a voice in who she chooses to work with. Now, dahhling, that's the glory of Divadom!
Beyoncé Sings the Diva Anthem
Tell Your (Short) Story
The Office Diva has learned that it's not simply what she knows but how she markets her expertise—both inside and outside her company. Therefore, she takes the time to build her personal brand. She communicates mastery of her niche in 10 words or less. This expertise statement helps her answer the proverbial "What do you do?" question.
Additionally, the Office Diva can succinctly explain to co-workers, clients, and executives why her expertise is relevant to the situation they face and what value (or results) she can deliver. She describes the problem then casts herself as the solution.
As an example, consider the Office Diva who proclaims, "I help federal contractors achieve OFCCP compliance." She should be able to briefly articulate what a federal contractor is, offer a dollar estimate of the company's federal contracts (her relevance), and rattle off the impacts of not complying with regulations (her value).
When you've done that convincingly, heads turn and ears perk up. And then, Diva, the floor is yours!
Singing Diva Mariah Carey
Rule 2: Effectively Self-Promote
Girl, stop being so shy. There's nothing wrong with self-promotion when you have the expertise and authority to support your claims.
You don't have to be the world's premier expert at what you do—just expert enough. Stop waiting for someone to crown you an authority. If you're already there, you know it!
Reach Out to Others to Share Your Good News
An Office Diva actively engages other professionals both inside and outside the workplace. Whether it's in the lunch room, at a professional conference, or waiting for a client meeting to begin, she asks key questions then actively listens to the answers.
She understands that efficient self-promotion means determining who key players and decision makers are. She gets these people talking about their favorite topic—themselves.
The Diva knows her clients, her potential competition, and what factors drive their attitudes and decisions on key matters. She identifies and discusses the business problems that keep them up at night. She develops understanding of their challenges, opportunities, goals, and talents. In so doing, she also earns the right to share the same information about herself.
Even if you don't think their issues may be immediately relevant to you, your new learnings may allow you to create broader context and linkages that could prove valuable in the future.2