I am writing this article with the occasion of ‘women supporting women’ challenge that boomed out on Instagram a month ago. During these days one could see more and more women posting black-and-white photos of themselves and nominating other female friends, family or colleagues to do so as well. The purpose of this initiative was to promote female empowerment and highlight how supportive one woman can be to another. It was a great way to spread some love and most importantly to remind the female population to be a little kinder to each other every day.
It is probably in our nature but it is a fact that women can be very tough on other women if they want to. Especially in the workplace, a vast majority of women has experienced a cruel treatment by their female colleagues in higher levels compared to men at the same levels. This is known as the Queen Bee syndrome, when women in managing positions treat their female subordinates in a tough way and do not support them. This is explained to happen due to the fact that women at the top of hierarchy are trying to fit in with their male counterparts by demonstrating their power. Many times the belief is that there is only one place for a woman in the room i.e. in leadership roles or in an executive board.
A study published in the journal Development and Learning in Organizations, highlights that 70% of female executives have been bullied by a female boss in their office. Such behaviors can be the outcomes of insecurity, jealousy or lack of interpersonal skills but they can actually leave a permanent trauma on female professionals. For women who experienced bullying in the workplace, it is more likely that they would choose to work for a male boss in the future instead of a female one.
However, as with every case, there is no one-size-fits-all. Individual behaviors depend on a person’s character and even though the existence of many Queen Bee examples, these should not be an obstacle for a woman establishing a good relationship with her female manager. Women can be truly inspirational and supportive to one another. They can be role models both in work and life, they can teach one another how to be strong and stay still during the hardest times.
Learning from each other is always a better approach for moving forward instead of engaging into nasty behaviors for no reason. There is a place for everyone out there, be kind!
The opinions expressed on this site are my own and do not in any way reflect the views of my current or any previous employers.