We've all managed someone who felt they were so special they deserved special treatment. Someone who seemed to grab at power every step of the way. But what differentiates a designer with an attitude from a diva or divo?: the enabling by senior management.

Yes, let's be honest. The enabling is the real problem, not the designer. And there's not a lot you can do to change it. Sometimes it's the raw talent that has enraptured the top dog, but it's also likely the Divo's combination of entitlement and playfulness and the complete belief that he's always right, that can be both confounding and convincing to senior management. And thus the Divo has been handed the power to dominate the conversation and set the rules.

The realization that this Diva has a Svengali-like hold on senior management often leads to a feeling of helplessness and futility. But wait! I'm going to show how you can not only manage her, but ride her wave to soar in the eyes of your team, peers and senior management. Here's how to make her power work for you.

Acknowledge Your Ego

It's bruised. Then get over it. You're here to manage the department, and this is what it takes. You're harming no one; you're helping everyone. It's an opportunity for personal growth to recognize that good management often includes letting others enjoy the "feeling of power," especially when you know you're the one managing undercover.

For example, a Divo I used to manage wanted a Foosball table. He made a huge fuss about not getting one and how important it was for the creatives to let loose and get their creative juices going.

I admit, at first I was annoyed and against the table. Not because of the table per se, but because my ego was bruised, and I let it rule my actions. Then I had an epiphany. It would be FUN to have a Foosball table! And I stepped back and watched him pursue it with senior management. When they asked my opinion, I said I supported his idea, and that it was a small financial investment in the team, and we'd likely see a spike in creativity as a result.

We got the Foosball table, and it became a vehicle for cross-departmental relationship building, and I looked like a rock star for supporting it. The latter is something I would have missed out on if I had let my ego run the show (especially since I believe he would have gotten the table without my support...ouch.)

Empower the Power Grabber

The act of empowering the Diva gives you the true power. The language you use with her, with senior management, with your department and with yourself is the key to communicating who is truly the department leader. Using phrases like "I think that's a good idea" which implies you've considered it and you've decided to support it. Question her in a supportive way such as "how would WE implement that" to help vet the idea, and she'll feel your genuine interest and support. The tone of voice is crucial because a whiny voice implies insecurity whereas a calm and unemotional voice implies quiet confidence and professional introspection.

Help Them; Help Yourself

When it comes to building business cases, do some of the work like budgeting and timelining, so it's a fully thought out proposal. Most often, Divas and Divos have the concept, but don't want the bother of making it happen. Helping them shifts the power to you-- suddenly they see it's much easier to have you on-board with their ideas, and it can even be fun to work with you.

Reap the Benefits!

Let that Divo or Diva go for it for themselves, when in reality they are going for it for everyone. Flexible hours, casual dress code, a drink cart (actual example!), new chairs, colors on the walls...the list is endless and exciting.

True Power

Be that leader who is so comfortable in her own skin that she's cool with letting other have that "feeling of power." This leader knows this builds trust and defines leadership and the entire power struggle often disappears. That's true power.