Women are ruder and let each other down at work MORE than men. Find out the top ways that you can stop it.
Consider this: three new studies have found that the majority of office rudeness toward women comes from women themselves. This phenomenon called, “queen bee syndrome” referred to women who became uncivil to those beneath them when they rose to senior positions.
Maybe she sent you an aggressive message about your project. Maybe she didn’t look up and say hello as you entered. Maybe she embarrassed you after you proposed an idea.
“Across the three studies, we found consistent evidence that women reported higher levels of incivility from other women than their male counterparts” stated the study’s co-author Allison Gabriel. Researchers found that women were 5 to 9 percent more likely to experience incivility from other women than from men, according to Marcus Butts, an associate professor in the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University.
Researchers discovered that women who described themselves as more assertive at work were more likely to be treated rudely by their female colleagues.
Why is this a problem?
Women who experienced rudeness from others at work were also more likely to feel less satisfied in their jobs and eventually quit their jobs.
An even bigger issue was that rudeness had detrimental effects on womens’ memories, immune systems and even family life outside of work, reported Christine Porath, an associate Professor at the McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University who has been studying incivility for more than 20 years.
Incivility led 48 percent of employees to intentionally decrease their effort at work, while 80 percent reported that they missed time at work because of it.
How can we stop this?
- Understand that she does not mean to be threatening. Researchers explain that women might interpret another woman’s masculine actions at work as threatening, even if the other woman didn’t intend to stop her colleague’s chances of success. Sometimes she may be acting in a certain way that seemed uncivil to you because of other things that have nothing to do with you. The number one rule here is don’t personalise it, and change your mindset to understand that she might be under stress from a looming deadline or a problem at home.
- Ask yourself ‘Is that person reacting to me, or me reacting to them? Maybe your colleague is acting cold because you forgot to say hello or make eye contact when she approached, and she was waiting for you to do so. Even a small action that you may not have noticed could have left a feeling of annoyance for your colleague toward you. If you feel it may be a reaction to something you did, then remedy it immediately with a kind gesture.
- Challenge your thinking, tell yourself “If a man had behaved that way, would I have reacted this way?” Remind yourself to view everyone as equal and give everyone the same respect and consideration every time. Many times we get upset over something a woman said, but would have no issue accepting it if it came from a male boss. Asking yourself if you would have reacted any differently if it was a male colleague will help you put things in perspective.