Have you ever been taken aback by the seemingly disproportionate amount of back-biting that seems to go on sometimes amongst a group of highly successful women who are in the same work or social group? Have you ever had a female boss who distances herself from supporting and mentoring more junior women?
This is actually a well known syndrome called ‘Queen Bee syndrome’ and Wikipedia has this definition: ‘A queen bee is the leader of a female group, a clique’s leader, usually a popular lady. Characteristics often associated to her are a pleasant appearance, charisma, skill in manipulation, and monetary power. She is sometimes portrayed as the Head Cheerleader, Prom Queen, Homecoming Queen, etc. The queen bee has substantial influence and power over the clique, and is usually envied and looked upon as a role model by clique members and at times by outsiders to the clique. Her actions are closely followed and imitated, even though they may not be of a positive nature. The social role of the outcast is defined as anyone that the queen bee dislikes. Clique members may victimize the outcast in order to continue their membership in the clique, or to receive praise from the queen bee.’
Why do some women feel the need to prove themselves slimmer, smarter, more attractive or successful than others? It is a question that still puzzles me after almost a decade in this work. However I do see certain commonalities amongst people in this group. Firstly, they seem to have a high need for significance and also a high need to prove themselves to the world.
If you have been on the receiving end of this behaviour it can be very painful as it seems to have no basis in fact or reality is driven purely by emotional greed. This can be difficult in a business relationship as these kinds of emotions can be highly destructive, not just to the individual but to everybody involved.
If you know or are involved with a Queen Bee, the best thing you can do is continue to work on yourself so that you can rise above it.
Remember what Jim Rohn once said ‘work harder on yourself than you do on your job’ and in that way other peoples negativity will just float over your head.