Childish behavior, bullying and backstabbing doesn’t only occur in school, it also happens in the workplace. If you’ve never experienced this, it might be hard to believe that some adults behave in this manner. Or you may assume this type of behavior is more common among men. However, according to a 2007 Workplace Bullying Institute survey, “female bullies target other women 71% of the time.” Additionally, “female bullies more frequently engage in under-the-radar behavior.” So, there might be a mean girl lurking in your office. But there’s an even bigger question to consider, are you that girl?
Problems can occur in the workplace due to competition and different personalities trying to survive in a small space. So, it’s only reasonable to conclude there will be issues. But sometimes, issues get out of hand, to the point where tension around the office is an everyday norm. If there’s always petty drama at your job, rather than point the finger, consider whether you play a role.
Here are six signs you might be the office mean girl.
Also see: 11 Ways to Deal With a Bad Boss
1. You Never Acknowledge Your Coworkers
Whether you’re overwhelmed and too busy to notice others, or you’re simply not interested in other people, if you come off as rude, uninterested or stand-offish, you might be classified as the office mean girl. This is especially true if you work in a bubbly atmosphere where everyone loves to go to lunch together and hang out after hours. You don’t have to be best friends with your coworkers, but you don’t have to be rude either. Saying ‘hello’ when you walk into office in the mornings, as well as offering thanks and acknowledging comments made by others can help you lose this image.
2. You Always Have Something to Say
If you always have something to say — and if it’s rarely good — you might be the office mean girl. It’s okay to express your opinions and even vent frustrations in a professional matter. But there’s a fine line between speaking up for yourself and taking digs at others. Constructive criticism goes a long way in the workplace. This type of criticism is designed to help others better themselves and improve on the job. Snide comments that tear others down, or comments that are rude and baseless aren’t constructive and create tension in the office.
3. You’re a Blame Shifter
Taking responsibility for the mistakes you’ve made showcases your professionalism. Since female bullies often do underhanded things, you might be the office mean girl if you never own up to your mistakes, or if you shift the blame onto others to save yourself. You might be a master manipulator, to the point where an innocent co-worker may actually believe a problem was her fault.
4. You Steal Your Coworkers Ideas
If you’re a mean girl, you’re concerned with getting ahead. You’ll do whatever it takes to shine in front of your boss and get that next promotion. Sabotage might be your middle name, and even if you’re not normally a mean person, all bets are off the table when it comes to the workplace. You might pick a coworker’s brain to see how he or she feels or get their suggestions, and then expand on these ideas and pass them off as your own. Some unsuspecting people may not see what you are doing.
5. Gossip Can Be Traced Back to You
Office gossip happens; it’s inevitable. People like the juicy details, but if every bit of juicy information circulating around the office can be traced back to you, you’re a mean girl and the office gossip.
6. You’re Encouraging Cliques
For a pleasant working relationship, it helps to have a good personal relationship with those in your office. However, if you look down on your coworkers, or only surround yourself with certain individuals, you might singlehandedly create divisions in the workplace. You might go to lunch and only invite people who you feel are on your level and exclude everyone else.
Also see: How to Deal with a Bully at Work
If you want to change your image and the way others view you, you have to recognize “mean girl” behavior. The workplace isn’t an extension of high school. Maybe you were queen bee in your younger days, but work is not the place for this kind of attitude.
Do you think you’re the office mean girl? Your thoughts and comments below please...