Female Bullies at Work. How to Work & Live with Mean Girls

When Workplace Bullies are Women

Working with a mean girl transforms what is supposed to be an adult environment of professionalism to the cattiness and backstabbing once relegated to the  junior high halls.  When your female office relations turn sinister, you have experienced a mean girl.  Behavior can be as subtle as an up-and-down judging body scan, the instant silence as you enter a group of women gossiping (seemingly about you) or an eye roll or snicker.  Mean girls and the office bully can transform your dream job into an unbearable working environment, make you question your own ability and even cost you your job.

Identifying and dealing with difficult women in the workplace is the focus of “Mean Girls at Work.”

What’s a Nice Girl to do in Dealing with the Office Bully?

Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster, authors of the best-selling book “Working with You is Killing Me” have delved into the challenges of working with a mean girl and how to best deal with each girl and unique situation.

Crowley and Elster begin by defining what a mean girl is and how to recognize one in the workplace.  Next, they categories different types of “mean” and subsequent chapters divulge more information about their behaviors and most importantly, how to manage.

The Different Faces of Mean Girls

  • Ice Princess:  Sees All Women as Adversaries
  • Very Mean:  She’s a Vicious Gossip
  • Passively Mean:  You Overhear Her Gossiping About You
  • Doesn’t Mean to be Mean: Spreads Rumors, Doesn’t Do Her Job
  • Doesn’t Know She ‘s Mean: Bosses You Around and Offers Unsolicited Advice
  • She Brings Out Your Mean: She’s a Nonstop Talker & Thinks She’s Better than She is
  • Group Mean: Workplace Cliques that Exclude & Gossip

Understanding the mean girl and how to cope at the office

The chapter carefully dissects the mean girls by type by first identifying her behaviors and what she does, how it makes you feel, what not to do and what you should do.  The end of these chapters provides a summarized guidance on how to best manage and diffuse mean girls in action in a segment titled, “Just Between us Girls.”

“Coffee Breaks” are breakouts within each chapter designed to help you individually manage your personal situation while sections called “In Her Own Words,” provides a real mean girls story from one of the hundreds of interviews conducted by Crosley and Elster prior to writing this book.

The Cheat Sheet at the end of the books is a great takeaway to slide in a easily viewable location for you in your office.  Identifying a mean girl in action goes a long way in helping you understand, diffuse and manage your own reaction to the situation.

Help for Coping with the Stress & Mean Girl in the Office 

While reading this book, I found myself head-nodding and recanting my own mean-girl encounters.  Afterall workplace bullying is a form of harassment in the workplace.  What was sobering was realizing times that I was the mean girl and how it made someone else feel.  This book provides practical tips for dealing with difficult interpersonal communication situations and can reassure someone who is subjected to the behavior that they are not alone.  While reading about mean girls and having the ammo to deal with them won’t make mean girls (or their behavior) go away, it can help prep someone in a difficult situation develop a new-found confidence and a road map to navigate challenging work situation.  Check out there book available for purchase at major bookstores as well as Amazon.

Photo Credit 1 & Photo Credit 2

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Comments

  1. Very insightful read, a must for every career woman. Great review, I love it!

    Leigh Miller |
    Reply
  2. Has anyone ever thought of holding these mean girls accountable? Oh, I’m sorry….that would entail having a workplace which exhibits integrity. Not happening when the bottom line is so much more important than the people.

    Mary Manning |
    Reply
  3. As one who has been a victim of a bully in the workplace, I would have loved reading this years ago. Unfortunately for me, the human resource department was either not understanding the whole issue, or chose to turn a blind eye on what was occuring. What was most frustrating was a boss who I thought continued to promote the harassment. The outcome was that I was paid handsomely to leave a job that I enjoyed. That told me that although they knew what was happening, their goal was to make it go away!

    Reply
    • Hardcover: 256 pages
      Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (October 9, 2012)
      Language: English
      ISBN-10: 0071802045
      ISBN-13: 978-0071802048

      Jamie Hornbaker |
      Reply
  4. Hi Janet,
    ISBN-10: 0071802045
    ISBN-13: 978-0071802048

    You can find it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble online.

    Jamie

    Jamie Hornbaker |
    Reply
    • I agree, but how many times have you seen this happen BEFORE the company loses its best employees?

      Reply
  5. Some of the ways that women tend to bully others at work include gossip, exclusion, taking credit for your work, rolling their eyes when you talk, whispering about you to others within earshot, ridiculing you, and ignoring you. Many states now have considered, but not yet passed, Healthy Workplace Acts. Contact your local legislators to let them know your experiences!

    Reply
  6. Women who believe they need to bully, harass and separate themselves from other women have unfortunately been misled to believe that this will bring them power. They believe that it is the way to succeed in corporate America. They attempt to mix the masculine competitive energy and individualism (which has its purpose) into the batter with the feminine strengths of cooperation, wisdom and groupism. The two do not mix well without lots of discernment and assurance that personal values are adhered to.

    I have worked with “bully women” who do not see the impact of their actions. They feel that they are loving and abundant at their core. In one situation my clients shared her story with me that she was loving and abundant at home and with friends yet at work she had a reputation for being a bully and caused havoc in her relationship with customers and coworkers. She believed that who she was at home was her true self and that she could separate the two worlds. She felt that she had to “tough” at work because of messages she received from her family and bosses early in her career. Once she understood the impact of her behavior on everyone around her (including her family) she saw that she had not been as good as she thought about keep work at work. Her work mentality had crept into her attitude about personal and professional relationships, blocking her from her ideal life.

    She saw that what she had been told was not working for her any longer so in our work together she unraveled who she truly was and began mending relationships at work and home. The result was a happier and more productive environment for everyone. And her company supported her in this process!

    When women come together with their natural open hearts and wisdom to the boardroom table this is where real change happens. I want the women who have forgotten who they are at the core to know that it does not have to be that way and they have the ability and innate intuition to change who they are being. I wonder if together we all kept sending them that message how quickly healing could begin. After all when a bully is faced with a common force of love and empathy their wall will crumble.

    I also imagine how lonely these women are; missing the heart connection that we women have together. When we, as women, join forces to help those who have lost their way WOW!

    Amen

    Reply

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