Women can be so hard on each other in (and out of) the workplace doing things such as backstabbing, gossiping, purposely excluding someone from a meeting, taking credit for someone’s work or helping to push someone out of a job. Maybe you’ve been the target of some these behaviors at the hands of another woman at work. Please know that you aren’t alone.
I call this the dark side of working with women. I’ve been there too, and not just at work. This behavior can also rear its ugly head in your personal life. It’s deeply disturbing, and one of the worst parts is that it can be contagious, like a fast-spreading virus. What I mean by that is that one mean girl in a group can then serve as the “bad egg” and turn others against a target. And if you have ever been the target of mean girl behavior, the effects can be incredibly damaging on every aspect of your life – I don’t care how old you are, this behavior never gets easier to deal with.
Although outside of the office, women consider their girlfriends among their closest confidants, they aren’t always each other’s biggest supporters within the workplace. In fact, they can be each other’s worst nightmares and saboteurs, if they view each other as rivals.
Today there are Regina George-like characters in every industry, simply because there are more women in the workplace. Their catty behaviors such as gossiping, backstabbing and sabotaging can turn an otherwise pleasant workplace into a place of daily dread.
The silver lining is that while you will inevitably encounter mean girls throughout your career, learning how to manage them will make you stronger and more resilient. Dealing with someone like this enables you to emerge a more confident version of yourself.
Today, I am lucky enough to work in an environment free of mean girls (thank goodness!), but I do come into contact with them from time to time – just like we all do – and I carry with me the memories of working with some very toxic females, which have helped me develop a thicker skin, and learn how to navigate them – these are important skills to have throughout your career because you will inevitably encounter mean girls personally and professionally. I want to make it clear that are plenty of amazing, supportive women in the workforce, and I’ve been very lucky to work with a number of them. They aren’t threatened by other women, and instead they go above and beyond to help others succeed.
It’s important to remember that while you cannot can’t change someone else, you can change your own behavior, and this article will teach you how to do just that.