Women-to-women relationships are naturally intense. When they are good they're very good, when they're bad, they can be horrible.
More than ninety percent of women of different social strata claim that envy and jealousy toward other women colors their lives. Ninety percent of women in diverse jobs also report that competition in the workplace is primarily between other women, rather than between women and men.
With women comprising over fifty percent of the workforce, a new dynamic has emerged. Women find themselves working with each other in large numbers on all levels of the corporate structure for the first time. While one would think this would create harmony and a supportive workplace atmosphere, it often fosters power struggles.
"Mean Girls at Work" by Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster is designed for women entering the workplace who find themselves surprised and perhaps disappointed with one or more of their relationships with a female co-worker. This book can help women in management or human resources who would like a better grasp on how to handle woman-to-woman conflicts.
Learn How to Manage Stress
Scientists have pointed out that moderate stress for women can actually help us perform at a higher level, but persistent stress can be debilitating and dangerous. Stress eats away at our ability to manage both our time and our responsibilities. Some wear their stress as a badge of honor to show how much they can handle. The underlying message is “Look at me. I’m Superwoman!” But that is not a healthy way to live.
Beware: Stress affects us both physically and psychologically. Physically, we might feel the proverbial butterflies in our stomachs, a pounding in our chest, or knots in our stomach during a stressful situation.
We can handle those for short periods of time, but if the situation continues, the negative physical and psychological affects will increase. When we are continually under chronic stress, our bodies react negatively sooner or later.
Each of us has a limit beyond which stress becomes toxic, even deadly. And everyone’s limit is different, so we cannot predict what we can handle. Under prolonged stress, our resistance drops, our performance declines, our mental well-being gets derailed. There isn't a quick fix to eliminating stress, but successful people learn how to manage their stress.
Here is a "cheat sheet" to help you stay professional as you deal with different kinds of mean girls in the workplace. What you need to remember:
Meanest of the mean: She's unable to see another person's point of view.
Very mean: She's tough on the outside, but insecure on the inside.
Passively mean: She's indirectly aggressive.
Doesn't mean to be mean: She's extremely self-absorbed.
Doesn't know she's mean: She's self-righteous and controlling.
Brings out your mean: She's clueless.
Group mean: They come in packs of two or three and are led by an alpha mean girl.
Sources: "Mean Girls at Work" by Katherine Crowley and Kathi Elster (ebook at $9.99 and Hardcover at $13.13)
John Agno: When Doing It All Won't Do: A Self-Coaching Guide for Career Women (ebook at $9.99 and Paperback Workbook Edition at $14.99)