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The Alpha Female in the Workplace

Updated on March 23, 2013

As women rose into higher level management positions or as executives governing over both worker men and women since the 1970s, the alpha female, or queen bee, is still alive and well despite equality. These women fought hard to achieve their level in management and will fight to keep it when threatened even from other females.

In a recent study involving 20,000 responses, the Queen Bee is not interested in fostering or mentoring younger up and coming women and they will push aside any threatening competitors by attacking self confidence or undermining their professional standing in the office. Most of the alpha women have zero interest in fostering the careers of women who admire her or wish to follow their footsteps. They, for the most part, are not their friends.

The Queen Bees are usually in their 40's or 50's. They fought hard to reach the level usually where men are. She has become one of the "boys". They are bullies but less confrontational. In many offices, it was found that 40% were women and the alpha female directed "bully tactics" 80% of the time towards women, not men. Male bullies in the office were 50\50 against women or men. The study showed that women working under the Queen Bee in the office suffered far more stress than when working under a man.

Where is the sisterhood?

Female bosses often badmouth and use gossip against subordinate women workers to downgrade them exploiting female vulnerabilities that may not be seen by men, like, using gossip about private life, using condescending remarks regarding sex or image. The female boss tends to view other lesser female workers as threats to them not sisters to foster. Many times the female boss will use slurs about how a female is dressed at work, if a man did this, it is viewed as sexual harassment. Also, female workers under the Queen Bee often show less respect to her than to a male manager. The workers challenge and push back with attitude many times when under an alpha female.

One female VP of an advertising firm in charge of three other subordinate women faced so much attitude and comments regarding her abilities she fired all three women eventually.

The woman boss is thought to be softer and gentler because she is female, however, actually they are cutthroat and protective of what they achieved. That is how they reached the top besides being qualified. They use fear as a tool of advancement, just like the men.

Not all Queen Bees are like this but all report having similar issues with those lower level women. It can became a real cat fight.


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    • Efficient Admin profile image

      Michelle Dee 

      5 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      Oh where to begin......women like this will have a high employee turnover. When men in corporate america see women like this, most likely they do not trust these women. If they can't even get along with their female subordinates (i.e. not a good leader) they will probably not be considered for an executive level position. This is my viewpoint of the corporate workplace. Unless they are pulling in big bucks to the bottom line they won't be around long term once true colors show.


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