The Queen Bee Phenomenon

ORIGINALLY POSTED: May 4, 2018



How many of you ladies out there were excited at the prospect of working with another woman? Maybe this woman was your boss, or someone you felt demonstrated admirable leadership qualities. To your surprise you found yourself being stepped on, pushed around, or shocked about the competitiveness and incivility. Does this sound familiar? Like you, I’ve been there! I’ve spent the last 3 years researching women in leadership for my Ph.D.  and it’s left me frustrated, flabbergasted and at times, in despair about how women behave towards one another.


Why are there so many books written on the topic of women and interpersonal aggression? Because of the prevalence of women who feel threatened by other women!


Instead of women supporting one another and acknowledging the skills, traits and accomplishments of each other, many feel threatened and engage in bullying behavior. In some instances, these “queen bees” will do everything in their power to sabotage their colleagues so they remain the “queen” in the nest! They gossip, spread rumors, withhold information and engage in other interpersonal aggression to prevent other women from moving forward.


The “queen bee” phenomenon is a perplexing set of behaviors that occur when women in leadership positions engage in negative behavior to prevent other women from attaining more powerful positions within the workplace. Not only are women at a disadvantage in comparison to their male counterparts, they also have to compete with other women. Don’t believe me? A simple Google search will reveal 188,000 hits. Women are meaner to, and more competitive with, their fellow female colleagues then they are towards their male counterparts.


Women, we must work on Leveling Up one another! What does this mean? This means supporting one another, mentoring each other, and building one another up! Lets #buildeachotherup. Stay tuned for further blogs on women in the workforce. If you're interested in further information on the Queen Bee phenomenon, see the links below:




Here, here, and here.

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