We all know women who don’t help other women.
I use some of these women as examples during coaching sessions. With great specificity, I talk about dysfunctional professional behaviors and wrecked work-relationships. I try to debunk gender stereotypes while simultaneously acknowledging that the woman-who-doesn’t-help-other-women imbues some of those stereotypes.
This woman is complicated.
She is privately and pervasively negative.
The woman who doesn’t help other women carries a boulder on her shoulder. Nobody works harder, nobody sacrifices more, and nobody has greater insights into the industry.
She is surrounded by men.
She works with men. She hires men. After her family, she counts men (and only men) as some of her best friends.
She actively undermines women. Younger and older.
Instead of forming alliances and relationships, she sees women as competition. Every alternative approach is seen as insubordination. She seeks to stifle creativity instead of elevating great ideas. And if she doesn’t have the power to stifle it, she makes fun of it.
She doesn’t mind scaring people.
She has a life plan, and she’s not here to make friends. Her agenda takes top priority, and her time is more valuable than yours.
Who is this woman?
She exists, believe me, but her identity doesn’t matter. Nobody benefits from a game of “name the queen bee,” and nobody wants to hear you get defensive and tell us how you operate as a dynamic example of female leadership.
(She is most of us, really.)
The woman who doesn’t help other women serves as an example to young human resources professionals — and old HR leaders on the cusp of getting fired — that you can’t be the queen unless you can command an army. [Tweet “You can’t be queen unless you can command an army. #HR #leadership”]
Far too many people benefit from the fact women actively undermine one another on a daily basis. I tell my clients that I am not interested in a race to the bottom. While we fight for pride and ego, someone else wins. And I ask — aren’t you sick of losing to the woman who doesn’t help other women?!
I know that I’m sick of losing to the men who benefit from all of this thoughtless naïveté.