The Wall Street Journal recently published an article about “Queen Bees”. A Queen Bee refers to a woman who rises to an executive position at a company and then bullies the people below her. Basically, the Queen Bee shatters the “glass ceiling”, picks a shard up off the ground, and then slashes away at anyone she perceives to be threatening her power.
According to the article, 80% of bullying by female bosses is directed at other women (as opposed to men, who tend to adopt an indiscriminate, Blackwater-In-Iraq approach and target anything that moves). The alpha-females employ a variety of tactics. Among the most prevalent: The Mommie Dearest approach of alternating between being supportive and harshly critical and The Mean Girls approach of badmouthing the subordinate to others in the industry.
But my favorite is the Fashion Stab approach. The article tells the story of a boss who looks at a subordinate’s outfit and then says “Who are you trying to impress today?” The obvious way to reply to this is to say “Your husband.”
Fortunately, there are better ways to fight back. But, like the Queen Bee does, you need to adopt an approach that “leaves no fingerprints” for legal challenge. As the owner of a new company called Management Solutions, I’ve developed a three-step plan for confronting and defeating a Queen Bee.
Purchase a snazzy business suit and briefcase for one of your unemployed male friends. Pay the guy to don the outfit and approach your Queen Bee boss on the street. When he kisses your boss, snap a picture. Using a fake Hotmail account, email the photo to the Queen Bee’s husband. Also mail a hard-copy to his workplace, marked “Urgent, Open Immediately.” There are so many creepy guys out there with weird fetishes that your boss will never suspect your involvement. Turbulence on the romance front should sap the energy she has to direct at you. But if not, proceed to Step Two.
It’s time to get old-school. Have your unemployed friend slash the Queen Bee’s tires, over and over for a week or so, using varied locations. Then email the Queen Bee’s boss each morning and say “I need to go over something with X, but she’s late again.” This should work because Queen Bees don’t ride on no public bus. That’s for worker bees. But if this doesn’t work, it’s time to escalate the situation and adopt Step Three (The Nuclear Option).
There’s at least one sexually frustrated guy in the Tech division at your workplace. Every company has them. Simply suggest the chance of a date (no follow through required) and have him download some nasty porn to the Queen Bee’s laptop. Then call the cops. It’s risky, but guaranteed to work.
Working is hard enough, and no one needs to take crap from an insecure control-freak. It is time for all good sisters to unite.