I hope you read the article on women bullying women (aka Queen Bees) that I wrote about in last week’s blog. In case you missed the conclusions from that article, I am here to help you. It is a very long article, replete with research findings, and you have so many demands on your time.
In recognizing that the answer can’t be to simply give into and tolerate the Queen Bees, the writer makes these conclusions about how to eliminate women bullying women in the workplace — and, of course, that includes women lawyers bullying other women lawyers:
- Better support for working mothers, including training female bosses to “buy” into and support those policies;
- A greater effort by employers to show talented women that they are valued because women who feel optimistic and confident about their career prospects are less likely to victimize each other;
- Current female leaders breaking down entrenched stereotypes about how female leaders should behave and defeating bullying behaviors; and
- Women becoming more confident in their abilities and cease apologizing for their talent and success, which makes them vulnerable to the criticism of others.
These are valid conclusions but will be very hard to accomplish in practice. You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make it drink. Behaviors are very hard to change, but that does not mean that we should not keep trying. We need to remember: If women cannot figure out how to exhibit kindness and grace to each other, they cannot expect that same kind of treatment from the rest of the world.
It was the summary I liked best, however.
“Someone has to be the first … to behave confidently, to risk knee-jerk bitterness from our colleagues as a result, and to not hold it against them. But it would be easier if we could do it as a hive.”
This should whet your appetite and get you back to that article when you have time for it. Reading it will be very much worth your while. You are not likely to be one of the rare women who dodges the woman-bullying-woman bullet, so prepare yourself. Knowledge is power.