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Queen Bees: ‘Their Assaults Harm Careers and Leave No Fingerprints’

A survey finds that 40% of workplace bullies are women.

by
Helen Smith

Bio

March 3, 2013 - 4:49 am


A reader sent me this WSJ article entitled “The Tyranny of the Queen Bee”:

Women who reached positions of power were supposed to be mentors to those who followed—but something is amiss in the professional sisterhood….

A 2007 survey of 1,000 American workers released by the San Francisco-based Employment Law Alliance found that 45% of respondents had been bullied at the office—verbal abuse, job sabotage, misuse of authority, deliberate destruction of relationships—and that 40% of the reported bullies were women. In 2010, the Workplace Bullying Institute, a national education and advocacy group, reported that female bullies directed their hostilities toward other women 80% of the time—up 9% since 2007. Male bullies, by contrast, were generally equal-opportunity tormentors.

A 2011 survey of 1,000 working women by the American Management Association found that 95% of them believed they were undermined by another woman at some point in their careers. According to a 2008 University of Toronto study of nearly 1,800 U.S. employees, women working under female supervisors reported more symptoms of physical and psychological stress than did those working under male supervisors.

The article points out that Queen Bees often assault careers in ways that leave “no fingerprints.” I find this interesting; I think that men are more direct in their tactics, often women tend to be more manipulative so that they do not have to take responsibility for their actions and can deny or disown them. And their victims barely know what hit them. Men’s directness is easier to spot and criticize, women’s tactics, not so much. It is more difficult to “prove.”

*****

Cross-posted at Dr. Helen.

Helen Smith is a psychologist specializing in forensic issues in Knoxville, Tennessee, and blogs at Dr. Helen.

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Top Rated Comments   
The advent of far more women in senior leadership roles in the workplace will result in a significant drop-off in productivity and profits, with subsequent decline in overall national economic well-being. Why? Women are motivated and animated by the age-old, enduring female characteristics of jealousy, status envy, and resentment of other women--most often because they are better looking or more popular. Such personality traits create a toxic, non-team player work environment that can’t possibly achieve the phenomenal success of the historically male-dominated business world of the past. In competition, men are about winning, women are about spite and getting even. With more women at the helm, the economic domination of American business during the past century will continue to founder. But don’t expect anyone on the Left, or any women, to make the connection.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Much like vote fraud, "they leave no fingerprints" because possession of a fingerprint kit is proof of misogyny.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (11)
All Comments   (11)
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It does sound a lot like grade school. I know a few teachers, mostly lower grades and all of them female. Only one of them prefers teaching girls, the rest prefer boys. They all agree that boys are indeed more direct in their disputes, tend to get over them quickly and go back to being friends. Girls, on the other hand, will be friends, learn secrets from them, get mad, tell said secrets, organize other girls (and boys) against the target girl, and hold grudges forever.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've had some good female bosses; the woman who was my boss for much of my early advocacy career became and remains a very good friend. Even so, she was much better with men than with other women. With other women she was far too quick to judge women who weren't a part of her clique, and once a woman was in her clique, that woman could do no wrong.

And then there are the truly rotten, horrible, awful female bosses I've had and known. Two that come first to mind I first knew when I was a labor relations specialist, a subordinate, merit system employee, and they were appointed division directors in operating agencies. They technically outranked me but weren't in my line of supervision though they certainly had some power over me. I learned from handling grievances in their departments that these two would have made ideal SS majors; they'd execute any order with lethal precision and without the slightest thought as to whether it should be done. Like most women I've worked for and with, they were loyal to a fault to those in their personal clique and vicious to those who weren't. Both were amazingly vindictive about any slight, real or imagined, or anything that caused embarrassment. I watched one of them over two budget cycles completely reorganize the budgeting for a department of a couple of thousand employees to put one maintenance man in a single employee layoff unit so she could claim a funding shortfall and get rid of him for the mortal sin of having asked the governor an embarassing question when he visited a department worksite for a grip 'n grin. And she made it stick! I did the arbitration and didn't really realize what she'd done until the union tried to prove it and couldn't, but that didn't mean they were wrong. Both of them eventually became my boss during a Democrat Administration, one right at the beginning and the other after I returned to the executive branch after quitting rather than work for them. They were both nasty vicious people to anyone not in their good graces and sickly sweet to their in crowd or when doing a public performance of any sort. The first one chose to retire as the rumors of incompetence and corruption began to swirl around her. I'm proud to have contributed to some of those rumors. The second one left in one of my capstone moments; I set her up to be her usual nasty, self-important self and deliver the new Republican boss an ultimatum about what I'd done. He told her to hit the road and appointed me director. That was one of the most pleasant going-away parties I ever went to and just to show my sense of noblesse oblige, I stood and did an eloquent eulogy for her career. When you deal with rotten people, you just have to know how to be rotten yourself.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Having been a nurse for over 21 years, I can attest to the female vindictive attitude, which for the most part, is directed toward other women. Suffice to say, Nursing is one of the professions where we not not only "eat our young" but we (as a profession) "happily devour them."

As a male, many times I have been put incharge of groups of nurses that simply couldn't get along and I've learned to watch out for the daggers. As far as my own bosses, I can say that I've had the worst and best female bosses, but it is still like walking through a mine field. One explosion is all it takes to end (or neutralize) a career.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I worked in a department that was predominantly women. I'm not saying this is common or unique to women in workplaces but it was the only time I experienced it. Basically what I observed was a recurring vilification of one person in the group who was painted as the villain and sabotaged until they either quit or fired. It was something I observed for years with increasing alarm until they finally turned on me.

Luckily for me I was very well established in the company and was able to transition to another, better position in a different department. I remember telling my assistant as I left that it was simply a matter of time before they would turn again on one of their own.

Sure enough, within a year at least 5 of them had turned into the target and were gone.

It was a poisonous environment that I hope I never experience again.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Any male CEO in the financial products world who does not have his long time, trustworthy, life-saving female support staff audited by an outsider is just setting himself up for embezzlement or embarrassment by same. And those women will redirect his energies toward everything and everyone to cover their little schemes from his view. One such is still serving prison time for embezzling $10 million by managing all the corporate credit card accounts. She made the mistake of getting sick on the day that the bills came in the mail.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
In my experience, thirty years of writing software and maintaining databases, bad male bosses are mean and bad female bosses are vindictive.

The worst male boss I ever had was shrewd, calculating, and manipulative, but he was rational and reasonably predictable. He was trying to get a job done and just didn't care what buttons he had to push to get someone to do it. I lasted eight years with him, and aged twenty-five years during that time.

By way of contrast, the worst female boss I ever had was insecure, emotional, unpredictable, and vindictive as hell. Her favorite tactic was the surprise firing-squad, where the project personnel gathered together and watched as she placed her target up against the wall with a blindfold and a cigarette, proceeded to gut him in front of everyone. It was a style reminiscent of leftist purges. I only lasted a year with her. The good thing about her, I suppose, is that I knew I'd never survive her as a longterm boss. Like the frog thrown into boiling water, I got the hell out of there as soon as I could.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The advent of far more women in senior leadership roles in the workplace will result in a significant drop-off in productivity and profits, with subsequent decline in overall national economic well-being. Why? Women are motivated and animated by the age-old, enduring female characteristics of jealousy, status envy, and resentment of other women--most often because they are better looking or more popular. Such personality traits create a toxic, non-team player work environment that can’t possibly achieve the phenomenal success of the historically male-dominated business world of the past. In competition, men are about winning, women are about spite and getting even. With more women at the helm, the economic domination of American business during the past century will continue to founder. But don’t expect anyone on the Left, or any women, to make the connection.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"I think that men are more direct in their tactics, often women tend to be more manipulative so that they do not have to take responsibility for their actions and can deny or disown them."

Spot on.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
My last job nearly every superior from HR to supervisors were professional Grand Prix.

They ranged from endemic liars to bullies to women who would've been dangerous had they muscles.

Since I was in a union, I can only imagine how they treat the poor pizza delivery guy.

The hostile behavior kills productivity since it'll turn some completely honest and hard working people into workplace shysters, slackers and even thieves. After awhile you're going "why not? I hate this company."

Of course I'm not talking about myself since I would never drink dozens of chocolate Sport Shakes in a single day and then stuff my pockets full of peppermint patties and malted milk balls.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
None of this surprises me. Some women are bitches. Why would their behavior in the workplace be any different than it is in their personal relationships?

I've dealt with both male and female workplace bullies, and my biggest problem with the situation was how their superiors handled it. The male's superior called him out on it and brought us together to discuss it, the female's superior made excuses for her.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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