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  1. #1

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    Are women worse bullies than men (particularly the workplace)

    This topic is quite close to my heart having been the subject of bullying from a b*tch here in the office. I am dealing with it at the moment. But this article does raise an interesting question and I tend to agree. I have worked with some great women, but on the other hand the worst have also been women. Most men I have found you know pretty easily where you stand but I haven't had that many treat me like crap.

    http://www.theage.com.au/small-busin...910-2thc3.html
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    What is it you tend to agree with? The headline asks the question, but the article itself says that bullying by women managers is as destructive as bullying by male managers, that men are reluctant to report it, and that it is hard to say how prevalent the problem is. Nowhere does it say that women are worse bullies than men. The article isn't even about women managers bullying employees in general; it's specifically about women managers bullying male employees.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Hmmm maybe I agreed with the general point about women managers being bullies. Did I need to be specific about who is being bullied?
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    I like one of the comments below the article.

    I am sympathetic, but as a woman I've had to deal with some younger male employees over the years refuse to "have a female boss", and if they were told they had to, undermining me at every step because they are misogynists who think women should be at home making their dinner, like their mothers. In a male-dominated profession like mine, clients will sometimes ask for a male, not even having met the woman first. I have been bumped off matters so an older man could give his son the job, more than once. Sometimes women do get over-defensive about protecting their arch, because they've had to be twice as good as the men to get there. Like men, some are just awful human beings.
    I suspect women are more used to being bullied, so it is an awful shock when it happens to a man. Rather like we are used to being groped & having stupid comments made about our appearance, but if a man gets sexually harassed they are in shock.
    It should not happen to anyone.
    Why on earth is this article asking a question without actually answering it? Or at least attempt to by doing research/comparison of some sort...?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    Hmmm maybe I agreed with the general point about women managers being bullies. Did I need to be specific about who is being bullied?
    You posted the article and commented on it. And the article didn't make the general point that women managers are bullies or more likely to be bullies than male managers--at least I didn't see anything like that in what I read.

    So....I couldn't figure out exactly what you were agreeing with. I'm still not sure. But if you are asking if we think women are worse bullies than men in the workplace, I vote no. I think bullies split out about equally and you are just as likely to run into a male bully as a female bully.

    Quote Originally Posted by DAngel View Post
    Why on earth is this article asking a question without actually answering it? Or at least attempt to by doing research/comparison of some sort...?
    Headlines aren't written by the people who write the stories, and they are written to garner attention more than reflect the content of the article itself.

    But it is really annoying when there is so little relationship between the two.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Prancer View Post
    You posted the article and commented on it. And the article didn't make the general point that women managers are bullies or more likely to be bullies than male managers--at least I didn't see anything like that in what I read.

    So....I couldn't figure out exactly what you were agreeing with. I'm still not sure. But if you are asking if we think women are worse bullies than men in the workplace, I vote no. I think bullies split out about equally and you are just as likely to run into a male bully as a female bully.
    From my experience, in the workplace women have been worse than men when it comes to bullying, if you want me to put it in simple terms. I also gathered from the comments section that most people read the article that way too. Maybe that is what I was responding to as well.

    But as I said, I currently have to deal with a bully who is a woman at work. It is pretty close to home at the moment so of course I am going to have a certain perspective on the subject related to my current experience. But it is not just here but elsewhere. Years ago one of the worst places I worked in was a public library where there was predominently female staff. The workplace had a dreadful culture of it. When I went to the next library to work at, it was the total opposite.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aussie Willy View Post
    From my experience, in the workplace women have been worse than men when it comes to bullying, if you want me to put it in simple terms. I also gathered from the comments section that most people read the article that way too. Maybe that is what I was responding to as well.
    She adds the issue also tends to be under-reported because men who do complain about being bullied by a woman are likely told to “man up” and deal with it. “But whenever someone is in a position of power, it is difficult to challenge them, especially on their expectations around workload.”
    Bullies, IMO, has no gender bias. I agree with this article that men bullied by women tend to be under-reported based on the above perception. I think women tend to 'bully in a different manner'. Women can be more 'vicious' than men. Men will slug it out and forget all about it.
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    I think bullies do come in both genders - but also that "bully" is the new "bitch" when it comes to women who are assertive. It's an overused term that is quickly losing its meaning. There certainly be plenty of women who are horrible managers, complete jerks and selfish, nasty, etc. Just like there are plenty of men who are the same. It's not the same thing as bullying. I'm not speaking to your specific situation AW - only you can know what's going on there - I mean in general usage, stories etc.

    As to women managers, I've heard many people (mostly women!) say that women bosses are worse than men, but that hasn't been my experience at all. I've worked mostly for women - several of whom were challenging, some were great, a couple were terrible to work with. None were bullies, and I'd take the very worst of them over either of the men I worked for in the last year, who were both appallingly bad managers in very similar ways. I don't expect my experience to be typical, though.
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    Like gen, female bosses have been better than male bosses in my experience. But imo There is another factor that would *have* to be part of any related analysis - the levels in the organization. For example, if we are talking about secretarial staff with a male boss vs a female boss, that may show a different trend than an engineer with a female boss vs a male boss. Because how one treats employees based on intra and inter class, for lack of a better word, would be just as much of a factor as gender. (I would expect that some men treat female secretaries better than female engineers because secretaries are "in their place" and are not a competitive threat. )
    What would Jenny do?

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    Hillary Clinton for President 2016!!!

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    drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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    I can see that. I've worked mostly in nonprofits, where women being leaders is the norm - which can mean both that the women in leadership have less of an uphill battle to get there (less to "prove"?) and that people who work in NPOs need to get used to taking direction from women or they'll leave the industry. The two men I worked for in the last year had what I would consider more of a typical corporate middle management style (even though one workplace was an NPO and the other was a very NPO-like environment and they both had executive positions) - very top-down, do as I say, no questions/collaboration, the only ideas are from the top (even when they're not), etc.

    ETA I was responding to snoopy's post. But I can see Hillary for Pres too
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    Really good points from Dangel and spikeydurian! I have found that men and women tend to bully in different ways. And I must stress, generally speaking! Most male bullies I have encountered were openly physically aggressive. Most female bullies were manipulative, sneakier; they couldn't outdo the men so turned to manipulation. But I have encountered a few males who were sneaky manipulators and a few openly aggressive female versions. I think in the long run, bullies are bullies and, once you have identified the style, you have to get on with protecting yourself and your reputation. I think that means establishing clear boundaries while stressing cooperation, making sure you have allies and showing commitment to the workplace. I'm not sure if this is at all helpful to your situation, aussie, but I wish you well. It helps to brainstorm with people who are not directly involved.

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    drinky typo pbp, closet hugger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrufflet View Post
    I think that means establishing clear boundaries while stressing cooperation, making sure you have allies and showing commitment to the workplace.
    this^ Especially the first and third parts.
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    I think men and women, for whatever reason, tend to interact with people differently, which displays itself in the interaction between managers and employees.

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    In my totally annecdotal experience, the only people who I've ever heard complain about female bosses are other women, I've never heard a male colleague complain about a female boss and reference her sex as a contributing factor to the problem. Bullies in the workplace have been both female and male. Female managers and higher ups always seem to get a reputation for being "bullies" when they exhibit the same type of behaviour and management style as men at the same level who don't seem to be labelled the same way, but in the example i'm thinking of it was women who "get on better with men" and have problems with other women who were doing the complaining...but it's based on my limited observations at 3 different work places where women were in senior roles, the three other places i worked had no women in senior roles.

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    Sorry you are going through this. It really sucks. I know. And based on my experience, and others I know with very similar situations, feel that women bullies can be the worst by far. They are sneakier about it, and can do it in a way that is very personal and hurtful. The one male bully I have dealt with was annoying for sure, but definitely more up front about it, and pretty much was just a jerk. The woman I dealt with had a whole different style, and it was a very difficult situation. Thankfully I am removed from it now, but I definitely feel for anyone going through it.

    I had a friend that went through a very similar situation when I did, with another female boss, and the tactics used were very similar. It was interesting, and we both learned a lot about bullying and how to survive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    Female managers and higher ups always seem to get a reputation for being "bullies" when they exhibit the same type of behaviour and management style as men at the same level who don't seem to be labelled the same way,
    I have known female bullies in the workplace for decades, and of course being from the south, and being in my 60's, I saw these bullies in perhaps more stereotypical ways. But I totally agree with antmanb. I was placed in a large southern department store chain headquarters with a woman who was deemed "impossible to work for." I adored her. She was from Minnesota and very direct and no-nonsense. She didn't perform "the southern ballet of manners" as well as being female-which back in those days was pretty rare in Atlanta. But she was always fair, sincere, and professional. I never understood why other women didn't like her. The two worst female bullies I ever met were very manipulative and totally ego-driven sociopaths. They both totally believed in their own superiority over everyone in their world and were both driven by a competitiveness that would make an Olympic athlete blush. I would like to say that they were only evil to other women, but they were only evil to women in a very female way. They bullied men differently, but still using female wiles to box them into corners where the poor guys didn't know they were in trouble until too late. Poor guys coculdn't fathom a woman could outfox them in business while they were talking so sweetly to them. Hitting below the intellect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AliasJohnDoe View Post
    Hillary Clinton for President 2016!!!
    I can see the posters now: "Hillary Clinton 2016: What Difference Does It Make?"
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    The two female principals I worked for were not bullies, but I did not enjoy working for them. In contrast to the three males I worked for, they were control freaks. Everything had to be done their way. One dictated where things had to be kept in our desk drawers (lesson planbook in the top right drawer, for example, I was written up for not meeting this rule due to being given a desk without any drawers on the top right) and how we had to write grades in gradebooks (quizzes in blue ink, tests and projects in red ink, daily HW in pencil, averages in black ink--this was the very last days before computerized grading systems). The other dictated how the shades were hanging on our classroom windows (not all the way down or up, always between half and three-quarters down the windows and all hanging evenly) and what color of hose or socks we were allowed to wear. That kind of control freak stuff is really stressful, I think.

    I worked for one male administrator that was a god awful bully and also a sexist pig.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snoopy View Post
    Like gen, female bosses have been better than male bosses in my experience. But imo There is another factor that would *have* to be part of any related analysis - the levels in the organization. For example, if we are talking about secretarial staff with a male boss vs a female boss, that may show a different trend than an engineer with a female boss vs a male boss. Because how one treats employees based on intra and inter class, for lack of a better word, would be just as much of a factor as gender. (I would expect that some men treat female secretaries better than female engineers because secretaries are "in their place" and are not a competitive threat. )
    When I was working as a writer/editor, I moved around a lot--one company for a couple of weeks here, another for a couple of months there--and so I saw a lot of different workplaces, and that was something I saw quite a bit--that both men and women tended to accept authority more from men and that male managers and higher-ups dealt better with women who were in lower-level positions. Female engineers, female computer programmers, and female scientists (the three fields I most often worked with) tend to take a lot of crap from men that female support staff does not, although the female support staff got their share as well.

    I also found that the most toxic work environments were those in which there were many female employees clustered at the bottom end of the workplace totem pole. I have no idea if the same situation would exist with men because I have never been in an office where men were clustered at the bottom of the office totem pole. But I have often wondered if this has more to do with being at the bottom than it does with the sex of the people stuck there. I also hear the most complaints about women in the workplace from people who work at or near the bottom of the hierarchy; women who work in management and higher-up positions tend to complain a lot more about men.

    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    Female managers and higher ups always seem to get a reputation for being "bullies" when they exhibit the same type of behaviour and management style as men at the same level who don't seem to be labelled the same way
    I saw that a lot. And any mistake that a female manager made was always blown way out of proportion--she's weak! She's incompetent!--in ways that didn't happen a lot with men, either.

    I also thought that people often expected a female manager to be more understanding of personal problems and would get angry when that didn't happen--but no one ever seemed to expect a male boss to have that same kind of understanding. At the same time, I've seen female bosses try to be "nice," which usually does not end well.

    Quote Originally Posted by antmanb View Post
    but in the example i'm thinking of it was women who "get on better with men" and have problems with other women who were doing the complaining
    I also heard that kind of thing a lot and have seen it posted here many times, and I sometimes wonder--if you go into a situation thinking "Oh, great--a female boss. I get along with men so much better," does that then color the way you view your boss?

    I thought it was interesting--and rather telling--that the article did not include sexual harassment as a type of bullying, which it most certainly is.
    "The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources."-- Albert Einstein.

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