Are there two kings in your castle? If so, you may have a diva on your hands. A diva is a salesperson in it for themselves. This may come from record sales or a misplaced sense of importance. The result is an employee who feels like they’re calling the shots, and who does so with attitude.
Divas vs. Superstars
You may have hesitated to address the diva at your dealership because you assumed they were your superstar seller. Often, divas are making good sales, which is partially what fuels their self-importance.
However, the true superstar won’t be self-centered or self-serving in their approach. They understand that what is good for the dealership as a whole is good for them, and not the other way around. True superstars are team players. They seek to lift the entire sales force because everyone succeeds together.
Divas, on the other hand, tend to bring everyone down. Their energies and attitudes are harmful, and they see the team as serving them. Often they choose to work alone, rather than with others, so there’s little shared learning happening among sales staff.
Because of this narrow focus, their personal success rarely translates to long term success for the dealership overall. Not only that, if left unchecked, a diva at your dealership can cause even further damage as other staff may resign in frustration with either their over-the-top attitudes or your lack of management.
Just because they’re narcissists doesn’t mean you’re out of luck. It is possible to change dealership divas.
One tactic is to enforce more group work amongst your sales staff. According to a Harvard Business Review article, How to Manage a Narcissist, this personality type is more easily managed when having to work in a cohesive team. This is because their attitude will show up more clearly against the backdrop of a healthy team environment.
Additionally, needing to work with a team makes it easier to provide diva sales personnel with constructive feedback. This kind of personality, the above article notes, doesn’t do great with one-on-one criticism. It’s easier for that kind of interaction to go south. Instead, allow feedback to come from the group. The larger pool from which the comments come makes it harder to brush off or ignore.
Cutting Your Losses
While it is possible to reform some divas, there will be cases where this isn’t possible. Sometimes it’s because the attitudes is too much of the sales members personality. Change for them would take time, and therapy, you can’t afford to spend. It could also be that you’ve just let things go for so long because you didn’t recognize them for what they are that behaviors are just too ingrained. They can’t accept any limits to their freedoms.
If this is the case, you may need to consider cutting your losses and letting them go. Remember once more that while a diva may be a short term gain for your dealership (because often they are bringing in sales), they usually prove to be long term loss leaders as they lower morale or lead other sales members to walk away.