The Sad Demise of a Diva

The Sad Demise of a Diva

Some things you probably didn’t learn at school ……

There’s more to it than numbers

I once worked with a sales team alongside one of the country’s top achievers. Within 3 years of her arrival, the branch had rocketed from nowhere to number 4 nationally. This wunderkind was credited for single-handedly producing over half of the turnover and profits. Understandably, management were under her spell.

And then she left. In a fit of rage.

Our resident Diva tossed her resignation letter and company car keys onto the general manager’s desk as she made her way to the door. Her reason? She had returned from a regional sales conference and discovered that she was being paid substantially less than her peers. She was livid.

The atmosphere was tense to say the least. We lesser mortals were all holding our breath to see the alpha males leap into rescue mode. With a sense of urgency: to grovel and make enticing promises of better things to come. To confess that they were greedy and guilty of unfair exploitation and to beg for forgiveness. She no doubt expected that to happen. So did we.

But they did nothing. They sat back and allowed her to leave.

It just didn’t make sense. How could they allow their cash-cow, their magic golden goose, to just disappear into the sunset without even putting up a fight? Being the queen of gossip, I saw it as my duty to do some digging for the back-story and was confidentially told that despite her contribution, her behaviour was getting out of hand. Her assertiveness and glowing track record resulted in her demanding and consistently getting her own way. Amongst other things, she often expected deals to be given to her when someone else had done all the spade work. If she had previously handled business for the same client she felt that any future deals were rightfully hers, despite having done nothing to earn them.  And the rest of the team were unwilling to back down and swallow their disappointment any longer. So sadly for her, her voluntary departure actually presented a golden opportunity for an overhaul and a fresh start.

It was a brave and rather illogical management decision and it came as no surprise that sales volume and profits did decrease after she left, but the vibe improved and the team consolidated and eventually bounced back.

If ever I needed convincing any business is bigger than any one individual, here was proof.

For what it’s worth, there are better ways of negotiating a pay increase. Backing your employers into a corner can only end in tears. Therefore if you feel you deserve better, firstly calm down and take a deep breath. Then go and ask for what you want. Remember to be humble and considerate. Always treat your colleagues with respect. In other words, avoid becoming a grudge purchase. There’s no future in that.

And if that fails get out of there and go grab what you’re worth elsewhere.

Till our next chat at the coffee station, whilst minding everyone else’s business,

I remain


Scintilla xxx

Essential skills for project management | Just the Job

Essential skills for project management | Just the Job

Managing a project isn’t an easy job. Managing people to execute that project is an even more difficult task. That’s why any project manager needs to build and hone the essential skills for project management in order to see a project expertly completed.

What skills do project managers need?

Essential skills for project management are:


One of the most important “L” words you’ll find in business. For a project to succeed, the project manager has got to know how to look after the team of individuals that are driving the force. A good leader knows how to get the best out of their team while maintaining support and respect.


Imagine you’re talking with a young up-and-coming professional. Would you say to them that they have “mad skillz”? If you answered ‘no’ to that, then you need to work on this one more than you might know. Communicating a message clearly and appropriately is a critical part of management. This means constructing what you want from the team with clarity and through the best channel of communication.


A project is not a one-man-band in business. Human resources exist for a reason. Project managers need to use the combined skills of their team to complete a task in time and within budget. Not only is micro-managing inefficient, it often leads to a frustrated team and a burnt out manager. It is important for a manager to know how to delegate duties to individual team members so that the task is completed well. This results in satisfaction from the company, the team manager and the responsible team members.

Time and budget-management

Scheduling a project so that things run on time is a key component in project management. It’s one of the critical points of a project management role. Therefore, it’s clear that time management is one of the core project management skills. Prioritising what needs to be done for a task at hand while bearing in mind the next steps is easier said than done. This is why working on this skill is so important for any manager to do practically. Like delegation, it also avoids frustrated team members because they will know both what is expected – and when.

Managing the budget goes hand-in-hand with managing time. Prioritising what is most important is a good first step in making sure the money-well doesn’t dry up before the project is completed. Think of what is necessary, and go from there. A good tip is: If you don’t need to spend any of your budget on it; then don’t.


Hiccups happen in business more often than to people. While you can’t put a project on its head and make it count to ten, you can put things in place which will help resolve the issues. More often than not, problems will arise because of people. This puts your communication skills to the test; if you can stop a problem in its tracks by communicating clearly, then your job is halfway done.

How to improve your project management skills

Either you’ve got the skills, or you don’t have them.


Even if you’re an expert at one thing, it’s a great idea to try and hone it so that you can be the best, most skilled manager so that both the project and the team you are leading can excel. There are several ways to build different skills.

Practice consistent planning

As a manager, you should be on the lookout for ways to improve your method. This means taking time out to plan the next steps, especially in the first steps of the project. One of the most dangerous things a project manager can say is “we’ll deal with that when we get to it”. If you can find ways to tend to issues before they come up, you’ll have a much smoother project on your hands.

Take advantage of ways to advance your skills

Whether this means taking a short course in project management or looking for software to assist in your management processes, it is important to look for ways to build your project management skills. When you find an opportunity to advance a skill; take it.

Set goals for success

Goal-setting works perfectly with planning. If you set clear, realistic objectives for yourself and your team to reach, it will encourage you to use your skills in ways you wouldn’t otherwise. When you succeed in hitting the goals, make sure you communicate encouragement to your team. It will make them feel valued, and they will strive to reach other goals set.

Ask for and accept constant feedback

Communication is essential for giving and receiving productive feedback. If a team member knows that feedback will be accepted well, they will be more likely to give it. Take feedback with open arms and assess whether it is valid. If it is, look for ways to implement strategies to improve processes in the project.   An excellent resource for jobseekers

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