Let’s be honest, there’s some damn fine perks to be a woman.  And there’s also some hardships.  What I can’t figure out is, at a time of the #metoo movement, at a time when we still run into the “old boys club” in the management office, and at time when Forbes magazine tells us more women leaders than ever are searching for a sisterhood… why are some of our biggest roadblocks at work coming from other women??

I’m talking about women bullying other women, blocking their promotions, or stabbing them in the back behind closed doors.  We’ve all heard about it this “queen bee” syndrome where women in the workforce try to compete with and destroy other women, but it seems to be taking more center stage lately.  WTF ladies? 

I’m shocked that this is a thing… I mean, at some point in our careers we’ve all been sucked into one or two water cooler conversations, but women trying to destroy other women… this can’t possibly be a thing!  We’re supposed to be a sisterhood of love, support and empowerment, so I made it my life mission over the last couple weeks to get more information.  

I reached out to women who work in a variety of workplaces, and many of them have shared their experiences with being a target of the Queen Bee.  From gossiping behind each other’s backs to borderline harassment with derogatory name calling to women intentionally sabotaging other women’s ideas, promotions and worse, their jobs.   Women who have made their way to the high ranks of their workplace admitted to experiencing this behavior (in both roles of the target and the queen bee) more often than others. 

When another woman succeeds, we don’t lose.

In the short run, maybe it feels that way.  When you are applying for a promotion and its either her or you.  Or maybe it’s a coworker edging into your work to brown nose the boss.  Or maybe it’s a woman from a competing organization trash talking you at professional events.  You feel like your losing but trust me, taking the high road will put you on the path to success.

Yes you say, the high road is great, but this Queen Bee is a serious pain in my a$$ right now!

Ok, here are a couple of ways to handle a Queen Bee without becoming one yourself.

#1 – Confront her.  You need to talk to her one on one and ask her point blank why she does this.  Example “Hey Rosemarie, you’ve been giving me the cold shoulder ever since I started working here and now the other ladies are telling me you’re trashing me at the watercooler.  What gives?”  Is it awkward at first?  Hell yeah!  But most bully’s back off as soon as they find out you won’t be pushed around.  They hate confrontation.  Many Queen Bees turn into friends with one direct (but pleasant) confrontation.  True story.

#2 – If you “think” she’s being a Queen Bee , ask her. Example:  “Hey Margaret, I notice you seem a little short with me.  Is there something I’ve done to upset you?”  Some Queen Bees aren’t even aware they are doing it, so although you want to be direct and straight to the point you don’t have to go in with both guns blazing.  Hey, there’s a chance she’s going to tell you her dog just died or something and she didn’t even realize she was being bitchy!

And, sisters, when you are in a position of authority, look around and make sure you aren’t being a Queen Bee to someone

Successful leaders will very much support other women in the workforce and other areas of their life.  These fierce leaders are often seen as the most successful and represent the kinds of examples we all need to be setting for other women in the workforce (and for our daughters who will one day be in the workforce).  I personally have many supportive, strong women in my work life and I admire them for everything they do for others.  They are compassionately transparent and honest, they are always positive (even in the worst case scenarios), they refuse to give in to workplace gossip, they never compare themselves to anyone else, they will ALWAYS have their work sisters back, their eyes and ears are always open for growth opportunities for each other….What goes around comes around and they always know that what they give will always be given back. 

So ladies… we need to do better!  We need to lift each other up… we need to support and empower each other…we need to celebrate all of our successes together… and damn it, we need to love each other!!   Imagine, just imagine how healthy our workplaces would be for both men and women alike if we did this.   When women support each other, AMAZING things happen!!!