Know The Signs Of Woman-On-Woman Workplace Bullying a.k.a Female Bullying

Female Bullying

Recognize and learn to confront abusive, corrosive, and harassing behavior

There’s a lot of national attention spotlighting men who use their power to bully women in the workplace to get what they want. But there’s an often overlooked and more-prevalent-than-you-think problem with women bullying other women in the workplace. Female Bullying is rife but less talked about.

According to The Workplace Bullying Institute, women are targeted at a higher rate by female bullies (71 percent) than by male bullies (46 percent). Woman-on-woman bullying often goes unnoticed, though, because women use different tactics than men do. Nevertheless, this type of bullying is equally harmful to your organization. So it’s important to learn to recognize the signs—and put a stop to it.

How it works: Girls and women tend to bully using subtle tactics that are relationship-based, rather than outwardly aggressive behaviors, asserts workplace harassment expert Dr. Susan Strauss. 

The Not-So-Pretty Face Of Bullying

Your first step to preventing disruptive and harassing behavior among the women in your office is to know it when you see it. offers these bully behavior red flags:

  • Verbal abuse or physical threats or aggressiveness (includes behaviors intended to dominate, manipulate, intimidate, or coerce the victim)
  • Words/gossip intended to undermine the victim’s self-esteem, or question her authority, credibility, image, reputation, perceptions, sense of self, or sense of judgment, or make her feel she is invisible
  • Undue pressure that robs the victim of attention, emotional connection, opportunities to participate in friendships and social/work groups
  • Lying to, ostracizing, excluding (from social events), demeaning, or devaluing the victim
  • Taking credit for the victim’s work, blaming the victim for errors, or trying to make others disrespect the victim

Beware: Whatever form it takes, if you have female bullying at your workplace, you have a problem on your hands. Left unchecked, you could face harassment lawsuits and fines that will affect your reputation and your business’s bottom line.

What’s A Manager To Do?

Being bullied creates undue stress, withdrawal, lack of motivation, and a fear of the perpetrator. That’s not conducive to a healthy working environment! Forbes asserts that it is leadership’s job to stop the bullying and create an environment that is safe and healthy for the entire team. So what’s a manager to do? Forbes suggests you take these steps:

  1. Ensure your staff that the person who reports bullying behavior, as well as the information she shares, will remain confidential.
  2. Confront the bully.
  3. Outline the specific behaviors that the bully must change.
  4. Agree on objective performance measurements.
  5. Give the bully specific ways to manipulate and control their own outcomes and turn their skills into assets.
  6. If coaching doesn’t yield positive results, it’s time to let the bully go.

In an article for Huffington Post, Dr. Michelle Callahan suggests that you document everything. For example, keep a journal (but never leave it in the office) of what happened when and who witnessed it. That way, you will have a detailed paper trail to make a case for termination.

Bullying not only causes friction in the workplace, it exposes you to potential lawsuits. In her conference, Strauss explains exactly what bullying is, how and why women do it, and what to do if one of our employees (or you) become a target.

(This post first appeared in an AudioSolutionz blog)

By Amy P on 22nd May 2018

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