“Queen Bee: a woman who dominates or leads a group” – Merriam Webster
(The following excerpt from Buzzkill: What To Do When You’re The Workplace Queen Bee by Peggy Drexler originally appeared on April 9, 2013, on thedailybeast.com. To view it in its entirety please click on the link below.)
I’ve lately been studying the Queen Bee phenomenon as it relates to the modern day workplace. For decades, we’ve witnessed this phenomenon, which is defined by women who achieve success opposing the similar rise of other women, most typically in male-dominated fields. Although one might think these women would be eager to support other women out of a sense of solidarity, too often patriarchal work cultures create a situation in which the few women who rise to the top become obsessed with maintaining authority. These women aren’t necessarily born Queen Bees, but become them. Now, with the numbers of women in management positions rising so, too, are the incidents of female bosses who bully, abuse, over- criticize, or worse.
In a 2012 Gallup survey, 60 percent of U.S. government employees reported being miserable at work not because of low pay or poor benefits, but because of their bosses. Studies show that bad bosses aren’t just a hit for morale; they’re a hit for business and profitability. A 2012 Harvard Business Review report noted that even expensive company perks like great health insurance and rewards systems mean nothing for productivity and loyalty if the boss is a bad leader. Good bosses, meanwhile, lead employees to increase revenue, as proven by various studies conducted at big box stores like Sears, J.C. Penney, and Best Buy. In the case of Sears, when employee satisfaction improved by 5 percent, customer satisfaction improved enough to lead to a significant increase in revenue. This is why, more and more, underlings aren’t just subject to review but are asked for their feedback on their supervisors as well.