The boss I disliked the most was a woman. I like to think that my track record with management has been quite good, but this woman crept under my skin and inspired a dislike that scared me a little because it was so near hatred.
There were times when she irritated me so much, I could hardly look her in the face. The day she left, I went around the office humming Ding Dong The Witch Is Gone.
Another woman disappeared into the toilets for half an hour that day so she wouldn’t have to wish her luck. I just about managed that one. Awkwardly. I wasn’t alone but it was noticeable that the people who disliked her were all women.
Why the collective dislike? There were quite a few reasons, including the constant criticism of our work while never giving any support and the habit she had of doing very little when we all routinely worked 10-hour days.
But the one thing which really annoyed me was that she only handed out criticism to women. The men in the office were constantly told that they had done a good job. You could practically feel the waves of resentment which radiated towards her from the women.
It was as though the worst female stereotypes of bitchiness and backstabbing were brought out in all of us.
I was reminded of this when I read of a report by psychologists at the University of Cincinnati. The study found that men who had female bosses got far more mentoring and support then their female colleagues.
Researchers concluded this may be partly because women in senior positions want to blend in as much as possible with their male counterparts. The female bosses were also reluctant to promote female workers.
The researchers named it ‘Queen Bee Syndrome
Even though I had a nasty experience working for a female boss, I was surprised by the findings. In my own experience, the majority of people who gave me jobs in the first place were women. Is it that we judge other women more harshly than men? I refuse to accept that all women are bad managers because I know it is not true. But could it be true to say that female bosses are tougher than men?