I have worked in business environments for more years than I like to remember. I have had successes and failures. Fortunately, over the years, my successes have outweighed my failures and I have been able to hold onto jobs and advance. I have had women bosses and male bosses, some good and some bad.

However, I will admit, that as more women are getting promoted up the ladder, the percentage of female bosses that I have had, has increased. Painful as this sounds, although male bosses can be bad, it seems that when women bosses are bad, they are really terrible. Mean, vindictive, insecure, back-stabbing, refusing to be supportive, dishonest, reactive and Draconian in their responses to events; what is all this about?

Articles abound on the subject and seem to repeat many of the same themes; women lack self-confidence in themselves, micromanage, fail to take action unless they are perfect and in general, doubt themselves and overthink their roles.  Men seem to have confidence born from years of sports and competing with other men. They have been forced to exert or push themselves forward, whether on the playing field or the military field. Men seem to have a level of deep, personal confidence women lack and it shows in their individual reactions to on-job situations.

Jane Hurst – Pucker Mob – 7 Mistakes Women Bosses Make (2017 – Internet)

1) Fear of Failure – Yes, you are in charge, and if things take a wrong turn in the business, you are the one who is ultimately going to be responsible.  You could be doing some pretty amazing things for the business, but you need to get over the fear of failure and actually take some chances.. Accept the fact that you will make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, and don’t be afraid to fail.

2) Trying to Appear Flawless – You are human, and you have flaws. Your employees likely already see a lot of your flaws anyway, so stop trying to act perfect. Don’t be afraid to let your employees see your human side. It will make it so you are better able to relate to each other, and it will create a friendlier working atmosphere that is going to increase productivity.

3) Alienating Female Employees – Many women bosses fear that male employees will resent them if they think the female employees are being treated better. Because of this, they may tend to be sterner with female employees. This is not what you need to be doing. Your female employees want you to succeed, and you need their help, so be their friend and enjoy collaboration rather than being their enemy.

4) Not Smiling – Often, women bosses feel that they have to be stern in order to be effective bosses. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, and it is not one of the best performance management solutions.

5) Not Socializing Outside of Work – One of the best ways to keep your team motivated is to get them involved in activities outside of the office. This is a great way to get to really know them as people, and not just as employees or numbers. Organize team lunches, coffee breaks, evening dinners or drinks, etc. They will appreciate the effort, and you will have a better rapport with your team.

6) Treating Male Employees Badly – A lot of women bosses who have dealt with a lot of hardships because of the men in their lives, tend to treat their male employees badly.  Remember, these men are not the men who caused your troubles. Don’t get it into your head that this is one time when no man can boss you around and you can treat them with contempt.

7) Being too Nice – While some women bosses go out of their way to be as strict as they can, others are far too nice, and their employees end up walking all over them.  Remember, if you give some people an inch, they will take a mile.

Wednesday, Aug 23rd, 2017

Why a female boss can be a woman’s worst nightmare

UPDATED: 03:08 EDT, 26 July 2011

Forget the sisterhood. Forget smashing a hole through the glass ceiling and throwing a rope ladder down to her younger female colleagues. The Queen Bee is alive and well and — watch out — possibly sitting at the desk next to you.

‘A Queen Bee is someone who has worked her way up to the top in a male-dominated organization, and she’s probably got there by behaving how a man would behave — appearing tough and not at all soft and mushy,’ says psychologist Professor Cary Cooper, of the Lancaster University Management School.

‘She’s unlikely to mentor younger women because she quite likes her unique position, and may feel threatened by younger females rising up the ranks.

‘She had to work hard to get to where she is, so she’s not about to give other women a helping hand — they have to work their way up just as she did.’

Queen Bee Syndrome has long been recognized by psychologists, and several studies have been carried out on the phenomenon.

Last April, it was found that women who had broken through the glass ceiling were more likely to mentor and support male colleagues than female colleagues.

A Canadian study in 2008 found that women with female supervisors had higher cases of depression, headaches, heartburn and insomnia than if their bosses were men. 

Meanwhile, according to the American Management Association, 95 per cent of women say they have felt undermined at some point in their career by other women. 

Quite why women display aggressive alpha female behavior towards female colleagues has remained unclear. But now psychologists at Leiden University in Holland claim the most important factor is how sexist their working environment already is.

According to their research, if a woman works in a female-friendly environment, she’s less likely to behave like an alpha female than if she works in an industry dominated by men.

Katie Hopkins, who spent more than a decade working in the cut-throat environments of FTSE companies in both New York and London, is not surprised.

‘Women in business are definitely Queen Bees and will defend their territory fiercely to remain in power,’ she says. ‘We don’t like being threatened, and on many occasions, I’ve seen women bring in examples of other women’s work to show their boss that their colleague isn’t performing well in the hope she will be promoted in her place.

Psychologist Cary Cooper believes Queen Bees are more comfortable working with men because they are used to the way men work.

‘A Queen Bee is unlikely to have sympathy for a woman who cries in the office or needs time off because of a sick child, for example,’ he says. ‘She’s not likely to be tolerant of those women she perceives to be “not strong enough”.

‘She may have had to sacrifice her own private life to get to where she is. If you’re an older woman who has a great career but doesn’t have a spouse or family, and you see other women coming up who do, will you resent them? Of course …’


Even as our understanding of confidence expanded, however, we found that our original suspicion was dead-on: there is a particular crisis for women—a vast confidence gap that separates the sexes. Compared with men, women don’t consider themselves as ready for promotions, they predict they’ll do worse on tests, and they generally underestimate their abilities. This disparity stems from factors ranging from upbringing to biology.

A growing body of evidence shows just how devastating this lack of confidence can be. Success, it turns out, correlates just as closely with confidence as it does with competence. No wonder that women, despite all our progress, are still woefully underrepresented at the highest levels. All of that is the bad news. The good news is that with work, confidence can be acquired. Which means that the confidence gap, in turn, can be closed.

The shortage of female confidence is increasingly well quantified and well documented. In 2011, the Institute of Leadership and Management, in the United Kingdom, surveyed British managers about how confident they feel in their professions. Half the female respondents reported self-doubt about their job performance and careers, compared with fewer than a third of male respondents.

Talking with Ehrlinger, we were reminded of something Hewlett-Packard discovered several years ago, when it was trying to figure out how to get more women into top management positions. A review of personnel records found that women working at HP applied for a promotion only when they believed they met 100 percent of the qualifications listed for the job.

Men were happy to apply when they thought they could meet 60 percent of the job requirements. At HP, and in study after study, the data confirm what we instinctively know. Underqualified and underprepared men don’t think twice about leaning in. Overqualified and overprepared, too many women still hold back. Women feel confident only when they are perfect. Or practically perfect.

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Linda Babcock, a professor of economics at Carnegie Mellon University and the author of Women Don’t Ask, has found, in studies of business-school students, that men initiate salary negotiations four times as often as women do, and that when women do negotiate, they ask for 30 percent less money than men do.

A meticulous 2003 study by the Cornell psychologist David Dunning and the Washington State University psychologist Joyce Ehrlinger homed in on the relationship between female confidence and competence. At the time, Dunning and a Cornell colleague, Justin Kruger, were just finishing their seminal work on something that’s since been dubbed the Dunning-Kruger effect: the tendency for some people to substantially overestimate their abilities. The less competent people are, the more they overestimate their abilities—which makes a strange kind of sense.

Dunning and Ehrlinger wanted to focus specifically on women, and the impact of women’s preconceived notions about their own ability on their confidence. They gave male and female college students a quiz on scientific reasoning. Before the quiz, the students rated their own scientific skills.  The women rated themselves more negatively than the men did on scientific ability: on a scale of 1 to 10, the women gave themselves a 6.5 on average, and the men gave themselves a 7.6.  And how did they actually perform? Their average was almost the same—women got 7.5 out of 10 right and men 7.9.

To show the real-world impact of self-perception, the students were then invited—having no knowledge of how they’d performed—to participate in a science competition for prizes. The women were much more likely to turn down the opportunity: only 49 percent of them signed up for the competition, compared with 71 percent of the men.

In studies, men overestimate their abilities and performance, and women underestimate both. Their performances do not differ in quality.

How “Male” Jobs Hurt Women’s Paychecks

“It’s fine if a woman becomes a social worker because she wants to, but not if it’s because something, or someone, along the way tells her she can’t hack it as a scientist.”

Read the full March 2014 story by Olga Khazan

Brenda Major, a social psychologist at the University of California at Santa Barbara, started studying the problem of self-perception decades ago. “As a young professor,” she told us, “I would set up a test where I’d ask men and women how they thought they were going to do on a variety of tasks.” She found that the men consistently overestimated their abilities and subsequent performance, and that the women routinely underestimated both. The actual performances did not differ in quality

Do men doubt themselves sometimes? Of course. But they don’t let their doubts stop them as often as women do.

And the men?

“I think that’s really interesting,” Brescoll said with a laugh, “because the men go into everything just assuming that they’re awesome and thinking, Who wouldn’t want me?

Do men doubt themselves sometimes? Of course. But not with such exacting and repetitive zeal, and they don’t let their doubts stop them as often as women do. If anything, men tilt toward overconfidence—and we were surprised to learn that they come by that state quite naturally. They aren’t consciously trying to fool anyone. Ernesto Reuben, a professor at Columbia Business School, has come up with a term for this phenomenon: honest overconfidence. In a study he published in 2011, men consistently rated their performance on a set of math problems to be about 30 percent better than it was.

The fact is, overconfidence can get you far in life. Cameron Anderson, a psychologist who works in the business school at the University of California at Berkeley, has made a career of studying overconfidence. In 2009, he conducted some novel tests to compare the relative value of confidence and competence. He gave a group of 242 students a list of historical names and events, and asked them to tick off the ones they knew.

I Wasn’t a Fan of Sheryl Sandberg’s—Until I Couldn’t Find a Job

Confidence, Anderson told us, matters just as much as competence.

“When people are confident, when they think they are good at something, regardless of how good they actually are, they display a lot of confident nonverbal and verbal behavior make them look very confident in the eyes of others,” he added. “Whether they are good or not is kind of irrelevant.” Kind of irrelevant.

That is a crucial point. True overconfidence is not mere bluster. Anderson thinks the reason extremely confident people don’t alienate others is that they aren’t faking it. They genuinely believe they are good, and that self-belief is what comes across.

Women applied for a promotion only when they met 100 percent of the qualifications. Men applied when they met 50 percent.

Once we got over our feeling that Anderson’s work suggests a world that is deeply unfair, we could see a useful lesson: For decades, women have misunderstood an important law of the professional jungle. It’s not enough to keep one’s head down and plug away, checking items off a list. Having talent isn’t merely about being competent; confidence is a part of that talent. You have to have it to excel.

We also began to see that a lack of confidence informs a number of familiar female habits. Take the penchant many women have for assuming the blame when things go wrong, while crediting circumstance—or other people—for their successes.

Perfectionism is another confidence killer. Study after study confirms that it is largely a female issue, one that extends through women’s entire lives.

So, where does all of this start? If women are competent and hardworking enough to outpace men in school, why is it so difficult to keep up later on? As with so many questions involving human behavior, both nature and nurture are implicated in the answers.

The very suggestion that male and female brains might be built differently and function in disparate ways has long been a taboo subject among women, out of fear that any difference would be used against us. For decades—for centuries, actually—differences (real or imagined) were used against us. So let’s be clear: male and female brains are vastly more alike than they are different. You can’t look at scans of two random brains and clearly identify which is male and which is female.

Girls lose confidence, so they quit competing in sports, thereby depriving themselves of one of the best ways to regain it.

Yet male and female brains do display differences in structure and chemistry, differences that may encourage unique patterns of thinking and behavior, and that could thereby affect confidence. This is a busy area of inquiry, with a steady stream of new—if frequently contradictory, and controversial—findings. Some of the research raises the intriguing possibility that brain structure could figure into variations between the way men and women respond to challenging or threatening circumstances. observed in behavioral studies: compared with men, women are more apt to ruminate over what’s gone wrong in the past.

You could say the same about hormonal influences on cognition and behavior. We all know testosterone and estrogen as the forces behind many of the basic, overt differences between men and women. It turns out they are involved in subtler personality dynamics as well. The main hormonal driver for women is, of course, estrogen. By supporting the part of the brain involved in social skills and observations, estrogen seems to encourage bonding and connection, while discouraging conflict and risk taking…

Testosterone, on the other hand, helps to fuel what often looks like classic male confidence. Men have about 10 times more testosterone pumping through their system than women do, and it affects everything from speed to strength to muscle size to competitive instinct.

“If life were one long grade school, women would be the undisputed rulers of the world.”

There’s a downside to testosterone, to be sure. As we’ve just seen, higher levels of the hormone fuel risk taking, and winning yields still more testosterone.  Moreover, a testosterone-laced decision isn’t always a better one.

So what are the implications of all this?

It’s easier for young girls than for young boys to behave: As is well established, they start elementary school with a developmental edge in some key areas. They have longer attention spans, more-advanced verbal and fine-motor skills, and greater social adeptness. They generally don’t charge through the halls like wild animals, or get into fights during recess. Soon they learn that they are most valuable, and most in favor, when they do things the right way: neatly and quietly. “Girls seem to be more easily socialized,” Dweck says. “They get a lot of praise for being perfect.”

What doomed the women was not their actual ability to do well on the tests. They were as able as the men were. What held them back was the choice not to try.

And yet the result is that many girls learn to avoid taking risks and making mistakes. This is to their detriment: many psychologists now believe that risk taking, failure, and perseverance are essential to confidence-building. Boys, meanwhile, tend to absorb more scolding and punishment, and in the process, they learn to take failure in stride. “When we observed in grade school classrooms, we saw that boys got eight times more criticism than girls for their conduct,” Dweck writes in Mindset.

Boys also benefit from the lessons they learn—or, more to the point, the lessons they teach one another—during recess and after school. From kindergarten on, they roughhouse, tease one another, point out one another’s limitations, and call one another morons and slobs. In the process, Dweck contends, such evaluations “lose a lot of their power.” Boys thus make one another more resilient.

Too many girls, by contrast, miss out on really valuable lessons outside of school. We all know that playing sports is good for kids, but we were surprised to learn just how extensive the benefits are, and how relevant to confidence. Studies evaluating the impact of the 1972 Title IX legislation, which made it illegal for public schools to spend more on boys’ athletics than on girls’, have found that girls who play team sports are more likely to graduate from college, find a job, and be employed in male-dominated industries. There’s even a direct link between playing sports in high school and earning a bigger salary as an adult. Learning to own victory and survive defeat in sports is apparently good training for owning triumphs and surviving setbacks at work. And yet, despite Title IX, fewer girls than boys participate in athletics, and many who do quit early. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, girls are still six times as likely as boys to drop off sports teams, with the steepest decline in participation coming during adolescence..

What a vicious circle: girls lose confidence, so they quit competing, thereby depriving themselves of one of the best ways to regain it. They leave school crammed full of interesting historical facts and elegant Spanish subjunctives, proud of their ability to study hard and get the best grades, and determined to please. But somewhere between the classroom and the cubicle, the rules change… They slam into a work world that doesn’t reward them for perfect spelling and exquisite manners. The requirements for adult success are different, and their confidence takes a beating.

If a woman speaks up first at meetings, she risks being disliked or even—let’s be blunt—being labeled a bitch.

Which is why any discussion of this subject requires a major caveat. Yes, women suffer consequences for their lack of confidence—but when they do behave assertively, they may suffer a whole other set of consequences, ones that men don’t typically experience. Attitudes toward women are changing, and for the better, but a host of troubling research shows that they can still pay a heavier social and even professional penalty than men do for acting in a way that’s seen as aggressive.  It’s not just her competence that’s called into question; it’s her very character.

But as our understanding of this elusive quality shifted, we began to see the outlines of a remedy. Confidence is not, as we once believed, just feeling good about yourself. If women simply needed a few words of reassurance, they’d have commandeered the corner office long ago. Perhaps the clearest, and most useful, definition of confidence we came across was the one supplied by Richard Petty, a psychology professor at Ohio State University, who has spent decades focused on the subject. “Confidence,” he told us, “is the stuff that turns thoughts into action.”

“If the action involves something scary, then what we call courage might also be needed,” Petty explained. “Or if it’s difficult, a strong will to persist might also be needed. Anger, intelligence, creativity can play a role.” But confidence… is the factor that turns thoughts into judgments about what we are capable of, and that then transforms those judgments into action.

The natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back.

Zachary Estes, is a research psychologist in Milan, who’s long been curious about the confidence disparity between men and women.

When Estes had the students solve a series of these spatial puzzles, the women scored measurably worse than the men did. But when he looked at the results more closely, he found that the women had done poorly because they hadn’t even attempted to answer a lot of the questions. So he repeated the experiment, this time telling the students they had to at least try to solve all the puzzles. And guess what: the women’s scores increased sharply, matching the men’s. Maddening. Yet also hopeful.

Estes’s work illustrates a key point: the natural result of low confidence is inaction. When women don’t act, when we hesitate because we aren’t sure, we hold ourselves back. But when we do act, even if it’s because we’re forced to, we perform just as well as men do. What doomed the women in Estes’s lab was not their actual ability to do well on the tests. They were as able as the men were. What held them back was the choice they made not to try.

The advice implicit in such findings is hardly unfamiliar: to become more confident, women need to stop thinking so much and just act.

So, to sum up, are there still bitches at work? Absolutely, and the Queen Bee syndrome does exist. That along women who treat men better than they treat one another and their demeaning and demoralizing contempt in thought, word and deed of one another. Do women really have to work longer, harder and more efficiently than men to succeed? Perhaps, but maybe those are just requirements we put on ourselves.

Sisterhood exists in very few places these days and for my money, it has died in the workplace and gone back to Haight-Ashbury to have a smoke.