HR Glossary

Queen Bee Syndrome

What is Queen Bee Syndrome?

Queen Bee Syndrome is a term used to describe a phenomenon in which a female employee, typically in a position of power, behaves in a hostile or condescending manner towards other female employees. This can include making disparaging remarks about other women’s looks or abilities, refusing to help or mentor other women, and actively working to undermine their success. The term is often used to describe women who are successful in male-dominated fields, where they may feel threatened by other women who could potentially take their place.

Why do you need to know about Queen Bee Syndrome?

Queen Bee Syndrome is a term used to describe a workplace phenomena in which a high-ranking female employee, usually a manager, intimidates and excludes her female subordinates, often leading to a hostile and uncomfortable work environment. While the term is often used to describe women in positions of power, it can also refer to any situation in which a person in a position of authority abuses their power to harm those beneath them.

In order to address and prevent Queen Bee Syndrome in the workplace, it is important to be aware of the signs and symptoms. Some signs that a high-ranking female employee is engaging in Queen Bee Syndrome behavior include: creating a hostile or competitive work environment, isolating subordinates, refusing to give credit or acknowledgement, and making others feel inferior. If you are experiencing any of these signs, it is important to speak to a supervisor or human resources representative to address the issue.

By being aware of Queen Bee Syndrome and its effects, employers can take steps to prevent it from happening in their workplace. This includes creating a policy against bullying and harassment, establishing an open communication policy, and providing training on how to identify and address Queen Bee Syndrome.

How to avoid Queen Bee Syndrome?

The term “Queen Bee Syndrome” was first coined in the 1970s by a researcher named Rosalind Chait Barnett. It is used to describe a phenomenon in which a woman in a position of power is less likely to be supportive of other women who are seeking to advance in their careers. While there are many reasons why a woman might fall victim to Queen Bee Syndrome, some of the most common include feeling threatened by other women, wanting to be the only one in charge, and feeling that other women are not as capable as they are.

There are a number of ways to avoid falling victim to Queen Bee Syndrome. First and foremost, it is important to be aware of the signs that you might be experiencing it. If you start to notice that you are not being as supportive of other women as you once were, or if you find yourself feeling competitive or resentful towards them, then you need to take a step back and ask yourself why. It is also important to be aware of your own strengths and weaknesses, and to be willing to give other women the credit they deserve. In addition, it is helpful to have a strong support system of other women who can help you stay accountable and avoid negative behaviors. Finally, it is important to be positive and supportive of other women in your field, both professionally and personally.


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