Mean Girls

Why do women not behave as soldier sisters in the workforce, like they claim to in other areas of life? 

We see it all the time. Women march, revolt and rally (the cause is not relevant here) and identify as a cohesive group that seeks the betterment of all members. But when they are separated from the pack, another side debuts. 

In the workplace, those roaring women who march with large signs, suddenly become envious and vicious backstabbers. This behavior is completely self-defeating.

At a past job, it became apparent that my female boss disliked other women. The woman rarely gave us all the information necessary to complete our jobs without having to somehow rely upon her for some slight tidbit. This purposeful sabotage, cum power trip, was an attempt to make us look inept and to purposely hold us back, whether conscious or not. 

Rather than candid discussion, the woman avoided any true discourse. Instead of working with us to find solutions for being continually interrupted by employees, she became secretive and shifty, talking in circles and moving responsibilities around. An example of this came when she suggested shifting employees under a woman she had previously gossiped about, telling us she had flashed her large, fake breasts at the request of one of the male employees. This terrible solution never materialized when she thought the better of it, but it was then that my ex-boss lost my trust. 

Another act of petty war occurred when the boss befriended the woman described above on Facebook, and downloaded a private photo of her new chest piercings. She sent that photo out to several of us in a group message, making fun of the woman. This was a photo that was not meant to be shared publicly. After that, I lost all respect for my ex-boss. 

During another incident, the boss belittled another employee, stating that she sat her twin girls in front of the television set all day, instead of doing any real parenting. Yet, every time she was with this woman, I swear I thought they might hold hands and break into a skip down the hall like besties.

This was the pivotal moment I decided I was totally over this job.

The tragedy is that this woman was a business owner and she already commanded authority by the very nature of her position. She certainly did not need to belittle and gossip about employees to other employees as a means of gaining power.

This bizarre behavior created a toxic work environment where isolation was the name of the game, so as not to provide fodder. Ultimately, toxicity ran rampant to the point that employees felt it was appropriate to nip at other employees behind their backs, on social media and ultimately attack their livelihood by trying to get other employees fired.

An example of this occurred while sitting at the bar with a handful of employees after one of our business reviews. One of the employees felt empowered enough by this environment to dispense some advice. He went so far as to tell the boss that she should, “remove, remove, remove” another employee, as if they were just trash to be effortlessly crumpled and tossed away. 

What happened to, train, train, training employees? What happened to good old-fashioned candid discussion with them, without a hidden agenda and without gossiping about the discussion afterwards with other employees? The boss had a history of sharing other employee's private messages. Clearly, this had turned into a very toxic organization.

Many of the women I have worked with throughout my life have successfully grasped what it means to promote women to their highest potential. I recall stellar bosses in women named Sandy, Carol, Adelaide, Shirley and Lou who were beautiful examples of grace, strength and professionalism while they supported their office sisters.

On the flip side, I have had the unfortunate experience of working for several women bosses who proved to be woefully dismal mean girls. Their pettiness, jealousy and insecurity negatively affected not only the women they worked with, but also held themselves back from becoming all they could be. 

Image: Daily Worth